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Full text of "The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore; the folklore of North Carolina, collected by Dr. Frank C. Brown during the years 1912 to 1943, in collaboration with the North Carolina Folklore Society"

DUKE 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




GIFT OF 



l>ike University Press 



DUKE • UNIVERSITY* PUBLICATIONS 



The Frank C. Brown Collection of 

NORTH CAROLINA 
FOLKLORE 



T/ie FRANK C. BROWN COLLECTION of 

NORTH CAROLINA 
FOLKLORE 



The Folklore of North Carolina Collected by Dr. Frank C. Brown 

DURING THE YeARS Ipll TO I943 IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NORTH CARO- 
LINA Folklore Society of which he was Secretary-Treasurer 1913-1943 

IN SEVEN VOLUMES 



General Editor 
NEWMAN IVEY WHITE 

Associate Editors 

HENRY M. BELDEN PAUL G. BREWSTER 

WAYLAND D. HAND ARTHUR PALMER HUDSON 

JAN PHILIP SCHINHAN ARCHER TAYLOR 

STITH THOMPSON BARTLETT JERE WHITING 

GEORGE P. WILSON 

PAULL F. BAUM 

Wood Engravings by 

CLARE LEIGHTON 



DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA 

DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS 



Volume I 

GAMES AND RHYMES • BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS • RIDDLES 
PROVERBS • SPEECH • TALES AND LEGENDS 

Edited by 

Paul G. Brewster, Archer Taylor, Bartlett Jere WhitinOi 

George P. Wilson, Stith Thompson 



Volume II 

FOLK BALLADS FROM NORTH CAROLINA 

Edited by 
Henry M. Belden and Arthur Palmer Hudson 



Volume III 
FOLK SONGS FROM NORTH CAROLINA 

Edited by 
Henry M. Belden and Arthur Palmer Hudson 



Volume IV 
THE MUSIC OF THE BALLADS 

Edited by 
}Mt Philip Schinhan 

Volume V 
THE MUSIC OF THE FOLK SONGS 

Edited by 
Jan Philip Schinhan 

Volumes VI and VII 

POPULAR BELIEFS AND SUPERSTITIONS FROM NORTH CAROLINA 

Edited by 
Wayland D. Hand 



The FRANK C. BROWN COLLECTION of 

NORTH CAROLINA 
FOLKLORE 



VOLUME SIX 



POPULAR BELIEFS 

and SUPERSTITIONS 

from NORTH CAROLINA 

1-4783 

Edited by 
WAYLAND D. HAND 



DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA 

DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS 



I 9 6 I 



© 1 96 1, BY THE DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS 

Cambridge University Press, London, N.W. J, England 
Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 52-iop6y 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 
BY THE SEEMAN PRINTERY, INC., DURHAM, N. C. 



TO THE MEMORY OF 
MY FATHER 



PREFACE 

THE publication of the final volumes of the Brown Collec- 
tion rounds out the most comprehensive general survey of 
folklore for any single state. Several of the individual volumes 
and parts of the Collection constitute not only basic compilations 
for North Carolina, but in default of broader surveys, are com- 
ing to be standard works of reference. By the same token the 
present two volumes may be thought of as the first general work 
along comparative lines to appear in the field of popular beliefs 
and superstitions in America. 

When the vast materials accumulated by Dr. Brown over 
thirty years {ca. 191 0-1940) were placed in my hands, the 
idea of annotation on a national scale soon suggested itself. 
From the outset this plan found favor with the general editor 
of the Brown Collection, the late Newman I. White, whom I 
had the pleasure of meeting in Pasadena in the summer of 1948 
and showing sample treatments even before the richness of 
the Collection could be fully appreciated. As some twenty-five 
thousand items were committed to individual slips, gradually 
sorted and classified, and finally reduced to the present 8,520 
numbers, and as comparative data were slowly and laboriously 
compiled. Professor Paull Franklin Baum, the present general 
editor, approved the effort, lending every kind of support and 
exhibiting Jobian patience. To him I am indebted for the 
sound and mature judgment with which he has faced the multi- 
farious problems which have come up, including the decision to 
make a topical index that in its usefulness would surpass any 
yet compiled for a work of this kind. The suggestion for 
classificatory numbering at every page opening of the Index came 
from the sheer desperation of trying to find material with 
dispatch in the mammoth index to Hyatt's fine Illinois collection. 
No less am I indebted to Ashbel G. Brice, editor of the Duke 
University Press, and to his staflf, for helping to bring unity into 
a work that had sufifered so much from interruptions over many 
years. 

For the countless hours of cutting and pasting and coding 
that were an inescapable preliminary to sorting, I am indebted 
to Viola and Jacqueline, and to Libby Robinson. Winifred came 
later to help with the stamping and labeling of reference 
materials. When box after box of 3 by 8^4 inch slips were 
ready for sorting, I had found an able and indefatigable research 



X PREFACE 

assistant in Rachel Baker. Mrs. Baker made the rough sorting 
of slips according to principles which were laid out, decoding 
the names of informants, and preparing the geographical entries 
at the beginning of the notes. She also compiled the topical 
index. But for her help at a time when my professional duties 
were heavier than at any time in my career, printed galleys, 
against which the notes were later to be compiled, might have 
been delayed in coming even more than they were. 

Numerous research assistants have served over the years 
in excerpting collections — in foreign languages as w^ell as in 
English. They are gratefully remembered here: Ray B. 
Browne, Diane Kestin Gordon, Audrey Greenwood, Edward 
A. Kahn, Mary JoAnne Lewis, Edith Geyler Potter, Ingeborg 
Ricker, Elsie Roertgen, Ada Haussmann Schmidt, Gaye Wong 
Steinman, Beverly Pont Wahlgren, Thordis Westhassel, Bar- 
bara Allen Woods, and Olwyn Orde Browne. Mrs. Browne, 
among other things, helped one summer in getting my vast files 
into shape for annotating Chapters VI and VII. Mrs. Ricker 
and Mrs. Roertgen are responsible for the careful searching of 
the Handworterhuch des deutschen Aberglaubens for the only 
thorough European annotation that could be attempted. Miss 
Mimi Clar, a former student, and a knowledgeable young folk- 
lorist in her own right, has systematically read through complete 
files of most American folklore journals, and by the time this 
volume appears will have substantially worked through the 
Journal of American Folklore itself. The fruits of her labor 
begin to show in Chapters VI and VII, but are not really seen 
until after Chapter VIII. Like Rachel Baker, she shares with 
me more than any citation in a Preface can show the satisfac- 
tion of a big and important job completed. 

Ellen Cole and her staff in the Central Stenographic Bureau 
at the University of California at Los Angeles typed the text, 
processing it from the basic entries on the original slips, as 
edited, and then went on to do the more routine though difficult 
typing encountered in some sixteen hundred pages of notes. 
But for their yeoman service the work could not have advanced 
through almost three thousand pages of typescript. Three un- 
derstanding chairmen of my department (Germanic Languages). 
Frank H. Reinsch, Carl W. Hagge, and Victor A. Oswald, 
placed research assistants at my disposal whenever they could, 
and two secretaries, Rosemary Mazlo and the late Dorothea 
Lantos, were available at all times for emergencies. My wife 
Celeste shared with me the ordeal of reading proof. 

My esteemed colleagues on the Faculty Committee on Re- 
search, three score or more over the years, have generously 



PREFACE 



XI 



backed the project, subscribiii<,r many, many thousands of dollars 
and never turning down a single request for additional sums' 
To them, seeing the big work finally published after years of 
anticipation will be reward enough, as it will be, indeed, to the 
staff of the University Library who have brought together an 
admirable reference collection in folklore, not only for the field 
of superstition and folk belief, but for related fields as well 
A fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial 
Foundation in 1952-1953 gave me sorely needed time to work 
on the Collection in its early stages, and a renewal of the fellow- 
ship in 1960-1961 enabled me to bring the work of fifteen years 
to a conclusion. No words can express the full extent of my 
gratitude to the Foundation and to its hardy champion of 
humanistic scholarship in America, Henry Allen Moe, for this 
generous support. A grant-in-aid from the American Philosoph- 
ical Society in 1951 provided research assistance which made 
possible a broadening of comparative data. 

My colleagues, William A. Lessa and John Field, have given 
me the benefit of their wide reading in witchcraft and folk 
medicine, and Herbert Halpert has led me to many caches of 
choice material, and placed at my disposal his rare file of the 
Bulletin of the Kentucky Folk-Lore Society. In reading the 
Introduction Thelma James gave me the benefit of her ''wide 
knowledge of the field of folk belief and superstition. To these 
colleagues, I express my gratitude. Ernest W. Baughman was 
kind enough to place the manuscript of his unpublished dis- 
sertation, A Comparative Study of the Folktales of England and 
JNorth America, in my hands, thus enabling me to trace out 
popular beliefs and superstitions as they occur in various kinds 
ot folk narratives in the Anglo-American tradition. The search- 
ing of French and Spanish folktales for beliefs and customs, and 
also other ethnic stocks in America, including the vast Negro ma- 
terial will constitute another phase of the overall study of 
popular beliefs and superstitions in America. I am grateful to 
Professor Baughman for the impetus in this direction which his 
fine tale-type and motif-index has given. Fortunately, this 
eagerly awaited work is soon to be published. Finally I owe 
thanks to my esteemed teacher. Archer Taylor, who has'poured 
many a reference from American and European belletristic 
hterature into my files, and offered the sage advice on many 
points that only he can give. More than this, I am irreparably 
m his debt for the encouragement and inspiration which have 
enabled me to survive the physical and spiritual ordeal which 
this task has imposed. 



St. Swithin's, ig^p 



W.D.H. 



CONTENTS 

Preface ix 

Introduction xix 

Bibliography of Works Cited xlix 

I. BIRTH, INFANCY, CHILDHOOD 

Birth : Where Children Come From 3 — Fertility, 
Sterility 4 — Conception, Contraception 5 — Preg- 
nancy, Confinement 5 — Miscarriage, Abortion 6 — 
Labor 7 — Afterbirth 12 — Ajter pains, Childbed 
ailments, Tabus 14 — Nursing, Weaning 16 — Pre- 
natal Influences 17 — Birthmarks 18 — De- 
formities 22 — Birthday 24 — Number of Children 
25 — Sex 27 — Twins 28 — Naming 29 — Physical 
Attributes, Growth, etc. 30 — Disposition 34 — 
Character, Talents 35 — Fortune 40 — Miscellane- 
ous 44 — Health 46 

Ailments and Remedies : Bed Wetting 47 — Bowlegs 
48 — Choking 48 — Colic 48 — Convulsions 50 — 
Croup 50 — Deafness 51 — Eyes, Cross-Eyes 51 — 
FiYi- 52 — Hernia 52 — Hives 52 — Indian Fire 53 
— Indigestion 53 — Lic^ 53 — LiV^r 53 — Mouth 
54 — Navel 54 — Phthisic 55 — i?flj-/i 55 — Rheu- 
matism 56 — Rickets 56 — Slobbering 56 — Speech 
57 — Stammering, Stuttering 57 — Stretches 58 — 
Teething, Teeth 58 — Thrush (Thrash) 64 — 
Whooping Cough 67 — Worms 68 

Miscellaneous : School 68 — Speaking in Unison, 
Rhyming 70 — Finding Lost Objects 72 — Whip- 
ping, Punishment 73 — Making Crosses, etc. 74 

II. HUMAN BODY, FOLK MEDICINE 

Human Body : //azV, B^arrf 76 — Comb, Hairpins 78 — 
£ar.y 79 — £3;^^ 80 — Eyebrozvs, Eyelashes 84 — 
A^'oj'^, Sneezing 86 — Arms, Hands 88 — Fingers, 
Fingernails 89 — -^^5'j', Walking, Stepping 94 — 
F^^?, To^j-, Toenails 95 — Miscellaneous 97 

Folk Medicine, Health, Physical Attributes, etc. : 
5't2^ 97 — Strength, Athletic Prowess 98 — Health 
99 — Appetite, Thirst 100 — Convalescence 100 — 
Longevity 100 — Beauty loi — Ugliness 102 

Signs and Portents of Sickness: T/i^ 5'iVA' 103 — 
Animals 105 — Animals in the Body 106 — Plants 
107 — Miscellaneous 107 



CONTENTS 



General Remedies and Cure-Alls : Animal Cures loo 

— Plant Cures no — Miscellaneous Cures 112 

Teas 114 — Tonics 115 — Ointments 116 — Poul- 
tices 116 

Diseases: Aches 116 — Ague 117 — Amputations 117 

— Anemia 117 — Appendicitis 118 — ^rwj 118 — 
Asthma 118 — Backache 120 — Baldness 121 — 
5^c? ^'or^^ 123 — 5z7^ 123 — Bladder Disorders 123 

— Bleeding 123 — Blindness 126 — Blisters 127 — 
5/oorf 127 — B/ooc? Pofjow 129 — Blood Pressure 
129 — 5oJ/j 129 — Bowel Ailments 134 — Bright' s 
Disease 135 — Bronchitis 135 — 5rm>^^ 135 — 
Bunions 12,6 — Burns 136 — Cancer 139 — Ccwyfe^r 

140 — Carbuncles 140 — Catarrh 140 — Cellulitis 

141 — Chapping 141 — Chicken Pox 141 — 
CAz^o^j (Chiggers, Jiggers) 142 — Chilblain(s) 143 

— C/n//i- 144 — C/a//j anrf F^z;^r 148 — CoW^ 149 

— Colic 155 — Colitis 158 — Complexion 158 — 
Constipation 159 — Consumption 159 — Com- 
z/m/^zow^ 160 — Corn^ 160 — Com^/i^ 162 — Cow 
Itch 163 — Cramp 163 — Crow/. 166 — Cuts 168 

— Deafness 169 — Delirium Tremens 169 — D^w 
^or^j 169 — Diabetes 169 — Diarrhea 169 — 
Diphtheria 170 — Dissiness 171 — Dog Bite 171 

— ^ro/.^3, 172 — £>3;^^nf^r3; ly^ — Dyspepsia 174 

— Earache 175 — Eczema 178 — Epilepsy 178 — 
Erysipelas 179 — £3,^ Ailments 180 — /^-flm^ma 
184 — FoZ/m^r Po/a^^ 184 — Feet 184 — p^/on 
186 — Fever 186 — Fever Blisters 192 — FiVj 
^93 — Flu^ 193 — Fractures 193 — Freckles 19^ 

— Frojf^^z/^ 199 _ G^o// fC aiding) 200 — (7a// 
PW^^r 200 — Gall Stones 200 — Car^/^ 200 — 
Glandular Ailments 200 — Goiter 200 — G^owi 201 

— Gravel 201 — Ground Itch 201 — (;ro«7n^ Pains 
202 — Grozvths 202 — Gzww 202 — HazV ^o^ — 
//cwf/^ 204 — Headache, Head Ailments 20 s — 
Heartburn 210 — //mr/ Tron^/^ 211 — Hemor- 
rhage 21 1 — Hiccough 212 — Hives 219 — //oarj-^- 
«^j^ 219 — Hydrophobia 219 — Indigestion 220 

— Injection 224 — Influenza 225 — /^c/i 2^s — 
Jaundice Green Sickness 226 — ATzWn^y Trow^/^ 
227 — La7M^«^w 227 — Legs 228 — Lice 228 — 
Lzz;^r 7ro;fW^ 228 - Lockjaw 22g - Lungs 232 

— Malaria 232 — Measles 232 — Mom//z 234 — 
Mmw^/)^ 235 — Muscular Condition 236 — A^c^^^a 

236 — Neck Pains, Wryneck 236 — Nervousness 

237 — Neuralgia 238 — Nosebleed 239 — O^r^zVy 
247 — Operations 247 ~ Po/^v 247 — Pellagra 247 



CONTENTS 



— Phthisic 248 — Piles 249 — Pimples 249 — Plat- 
Eye 250 — Pneumonia 250 — Poison 251 — Poison 
Ivy 251 — Poison Oak 252 — Poison Vines 252 — 
Quinsy 252 — Rash 253 — Rheumatic Fever 254 — 
Rheumatism 254 — Rickets 269 — Ringworm 269 

— Rocky Mountain Fever 271 — Scarlet Fever 271 

— Scurvy 271 — Seasickness 271 — Shingles 271 — 
6^/10^ Wounds 273 — Sideache 273 — 6"i5r/j^ 274 — • 
5A?m Diseases 274 — Smallpox 275 — Snake Bite 
275 — Snoring 282 — Snow Blindness 282 — Sores 
282 — 6"o;'£? Throat 283 — Spasms 288 — Splinters 
288 — Sprains 288 — Stings of Insects 289 — 
Stings of Bees, Flies, etc. 290 — Stings of Scorpions, 
Spiders, Centipedes 292 — Stomach Ailments 293 

— Strangulation 293 — Stroke 293 — Stuttering, 
Stammering 293 — ^fy 293 — Sunburn 297 — 
Swamp Fever 298 — Sweats, Sweating 298 — 
Swellings 298 — Tapeworm 300 — Tetter 300 — 
Throat Ailments 300 — Toenails 301 — Toothache 
301 — Tram Sickness 307 — Tuberculosis 307 — 
Typhoid Fever 308 — Ulcers 309 — Vomiting 309 

— Warts 309 — fi^^wj 350 — Whooping Cough 
351 — Worms 354 — Wounds 355 

Mental, Emotional Ailments: Lunacy 356 — For- 
getfulness 357 — Homesickness 357 

III. HOME, DOMESTIC PURSUITS 

About the House : Cooking, Culinary Practice 358 — 
^■oa/j Making 362 — Stilling Receipt 364 — Beliefs 
About Food 364 — Abundance and Scarcity of Food 
365 — Eating 367 — Eating Utensils, Salt 370 — 
Dishcloths, Towels 375 — Taking up Ashes 375 

— Sweeping, Cleaning 2)77 — Washing 380 — 
Moving, Setting up House 381 — Entering a House 
385 — Bringing Things Indoors 386 — Insects, Rats 
389 — Thresholds, Stairs, Windows 389 — Ffr^- 
/»/ac^, FzV^ 391 — Lamps, Lights, Candles, Matches 
392 — Houses Afire 393 — Chairs, Tables 395 — 
Household Furnishings, Ladders 396 — Sleeping 
400 — Dreams, Dreaming, Wishes 405 

Clothing : A/'^zf Clothes 410 — A''^w 6"/io^^ 410 — A/'^w 
^MxV^ 411 — A'^^w Dresses 412 — Dressing, Un- 
dressing, Wearing Clothes 414 — Various Items of 
Clothing 417 — Beliefs About Clothing 421 — 
Dresses, Aprons, Shirts 422 

Jewelry : Rings 424 — Jewels 425 

Sewing : Sewing on Various Days 426 — Miscellaneous 



XVI CONTENTS 

Beliefs 429 — Buttons 430 — Scissors 432 — Pins 
433 — Needles 438 

IV. ECONOMIC, SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS 

Prosperity, Wealth : 440 — Poverty, Financial Hard- 
ship 443 — Business, Trade, Financial Matters 444 

— Adoney 445 — Bodily Signs 445 — Shoes, Walk- 
ing 448 — Nezv Year's Day 448 — Animal Indi- 
cators 450 — Beverages, Meals 451 — Moon 452 

— Miscellaneous 454 

Works, Trades, Professions : General Beliefs 456 — 
Sailors, Fishermen 457 — Actors, Town Criers, 
Auctioneers 459 — Women in Industry 460 

Religion : Bihle 460 — Church 461 

Friends, Enemies: General 461 — Hair, Hairpins, 
Combs 462 — Ears 463 — Counteractants 465 — 
Eyes, Nose, Face, Teeth 465 — Fingers 467 — 
Shoes, Shoelaces, Tracks 467 — House 468 — Fire, 
Smoke, Burning 468 — Salt 469 — Washing, 
Wiping 470 — Gz/f.y, Sharp Objects 473 — Break- 
age 475 — Chairs, Umbrellas 475 — Gates, Fences 
476 — Trees, Posts, Divisive Objects 476 — 
Counteractants XJJ — Animals, Reptiles 478 

Recreation, Sports, Games : Athletics 482 — 5aj^- 
&a//. Football 482 — Cards 484 — Gambling 486 

Lying, Thievery, Legal Guilt, Murder, etc.: y^.y- 
severations 486 — Lying 487 — Thieves, Thievery 
489 — T^.yf^ 0/ Gmi7^ 490 — Murder, Hanging 491 

V. TRAVEL, COMMUNICATION 

General : 493 — Time of Departure 495 — Auspices, 
Happenings 496 — Returning 499 — Meeting and 
Passing Persons 503 — Meeting and Passing Ani- 
mals 506 — Dogs 507 — Cats 507 — Counteractants 
509 — Rabbits, Hares 512 — Counteractants 514 — 
Squirrels 516 — Snakes 517 

Visits, Visiting: Christmas, New Year's 517 — Day.? 
0/ f/z^ Week 519 — Welcome, Unwelcome Visits 
519 — Bodily Signs: Eyes, Eyebrows 521 — A'^o.J't? 
521 — Elbows, Hands, Feet 523 — Animals: Cats, 
Dogs 524 — Roosters 525 — Birds: Bu:^cards 529 

— Redbirds 530 — Butterflies, Spiders 531 — 
Lizards 533 — Domestic Portents 533 — Cutlery, 
Dishes 533 — Dishcloths, Towels 535 — Foorf, 
Meals 538 — Various Beliefs 540 — Fir^, FtV^- 
/>/ac^, Smoke 542 

News : 544 — Coorf A/'^w.r 545 — Earf AT^w j 546 — 
Secrets 547 — Mm7 547 



CONTENTS XVli 

VI. LOVE, COURTSHIP, MARRIAGE 

Portents of Body, Clothing, etc. : 552 — Hair, Hair- 
pins 552 — Facial Parts, Kissing, Speaking, etc. 
555 — Hands, Fingers, Rings, etc. 558 — Finger- 
nails, Toenails, Feet 561 — Shoes, Shoelaces, Walk- 
ing, etc. 563 — Hats, Dresses, Handkerchiefs, etc. 
565 

Love Charms, Aphrodisiacs, etc.: Bodily Tokens 566 

— Intimate Possessions 569 — Animal and Plant 
Tokens 572 — Love Powders, Charms 574 

Home and Domestic Scene: Table and Cutlery 575 — 
Food, Meal, Salt, etc. S77 — Dumb Supper 581 — 
Sweeping, Sewing, Winding Yarn, etc. 582 — Bibli- 
cal Divination, St. Agnes Eve, etc. 584 — Bed- 
room, Bed, Bedclothing, etc. 587 — Dreaming 589 

— Fire, Hearth, Firebrands, Matches, Candles, etc. 
594 — Mirror, Water Glass, Wells, Springs, etc. 
597 

Moon, Stars: 602 

Animal Portents : Cats, Dogs 606 — Horses, Mules, 
Horseshoes, etc. 606 — Chickens, Roosters, Eggs, 
etc. 608 — Wishbones, Pulleybones, etc. 609 — 
Birds, Fish, Fishing, etc. 612 — Insects, Spiders, 
Snails 615 

Plant Signs: Seeds, Leaves, Plants, Herbs, etc. 617 

Flowers 622 — Trees, Apple Seeds, Peelings, etc. 
624 

Order and Time of Marriage: Delayed Marriage: 
Body and Clothing Indicators 628 — Table, Cutlery, 
Food, Chairs, etc. 629 — Sweeping, Sezving, Sleep- 
ing, etc. 630 — Falling, Walking, etc. 631 — Mis- 
cellaneous 632 

Flirtation, Jealousy, Discord, Loss of Sweetheart: 
633 

Spinsterhood, Bachelorhood: Tabic, Cutlery, Food, 
Salt 62s — Dishes, Fire, Sleep, Dreams, etc. 636 — 
Chairs, Sweeping, Walking, etc. 638 — Animals, 
Plants 639 — Miscellaneous 640 

Marital Status: Age of Spouse; Bachelor, Widower 
640 — Features, Characteristics, Habits 642 — 
Trade, Business, Financial Status 643 

Wedding, Married Life: Miscellaneous 645 — Time 
of Wedding, Weather 648 — Wedding Clothes, etc. 
653 — Wedding Cake, Ring, etc. 657 — Wedding 
Ceremony, etc. 660 — Leaving the Church; Honey- 
moon, Householding, etc. 662 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Quilting Party frontispiece 

Mountain Girl facing page i66 

Flue-Curing Barn facing page 498 



INTRODUCTION 



IN a sense, superstitions and popular beliefs may be regarded as 
the least common denominators of folklore. Like items of folk 
speech, which are also short and turn up everywhere, folk beliefs 
are found in several genres of folklore, particularly in folk legend 
and related narrative forms. Child, Wimberly, Meier, and others 
have also shown how the action of ballads is often motivated by 
folk beliefs, and Lady Gomme, De Cock and Teirlinck, and Newell, 
among others, have traced out folk beliefs surviving in children's 
.cames and songs. Tn the wide-ranging field of custom and usage, 
Thiselton-Dyer, Feilberg, Sartori. and their confreres have been 
able to demonstrate the close relationship which ritualistic practices 
bear to underlying folk beliefs, and Eberhard Freiherr von Kiinss- 
berg, following the leads of workers before him, including Jakob 
Grimm, has sketched the development of customary law in all its 
interesting connections. Many folk beliefs have even taken on the 
form of proverbs, as entries in proverb collections and dictionaries 
from many countries will show. Finally it has remained for 
psychologists and other workers in the behavioral sciences, no less 
than for anthropologists, ethnologists, and students of primitive 
religion, to account for the vagaries of the human mind as they are 
revealed in the elemental forms of folklore. In their inquiries into 
these irrational notions and odd human quirks these scholars have 
penetrated into the dark recesses of the mind and come face to 
face with the most basic emotions of man. From these studies, to 
emphasize the positive side, have come many rudimentary ideas 
leading to an understanding of the complexities of the modern 
mind as well as throwing light upon the dark past. It was pre- 
cisely these "shadowy sides of human nature" that captured the 
fancy of eighteenth-century thinkers, and later challenged the 
thought of a succession of workers from Wundt and Laistner to 
Freud and finally to Jung and his disciples. 

After more than a century and a half of scholarly activity, the 
subject fields of folklore have still not all been clearly drawn. In 
no field is the situation perhaps more vexed than in the realm 
of superstitions, since aberrations of the human mind involve primi- 
tive peoples as well as the members of civilized societies, and are 
encountered in the byways of religion no less than in the misap- 
plications of learning and the perversions of science. Superstition 
is not the preserve of the unlettered only, but is a state of mind 
or a way of looking at things that may befall even the most 
sophisticated members of society. Professional people of all kinds. 



XX INTRODUCTION 

no less than tradesmen, are prone to many of the same popular 
conceits and mental errors to which, for want of formal education, 
members of the humbler classes have fallen heir. If sailors, for 
example, create and perpetuate folklore because of their close 
confinement for long periods of time at sea, and in face of physical 
hazard and the fear of imminent death — as was the case in the days 
of the old sailing ships — actors too, particularly in the old stock 
companies, produced a comparable body of lore. And they did so 
for the same kinds of reasons. Here, however, it was not a case of 
physical hazard, but of psychological hazard — in its way much 
worse — which gave them the verve and esprit de corps, and set 
the stage mentally, so to speak, for the verbalizing and the symbo- 
lizing of their common apprehension as to whether the show would 
be able to make its way. In these circumstances each actor, as a 
member of a highly sensitive cast, and a self-contained economic 
unit, was put through a great spiritual ordeal. Any mental lapse, 
or any untoward happening before the show went on, might be 
enough to spell disaster ; hence the creation of untold stage tabus 
and idle notions. Such a trifle, for example, as the belief that if 
an actor whistled upon entering the stage, he might whistle himself 
out of a job (No. 34/7), must be viewed in terms of the great 
tension backstage at curtain time. Anyone causing a disturbance, 
or adding to the anxiety of the moment, might literally whistle 
himself out of a job by breaking one of the ancient tabus of the 
stage, and getting dismissed. This occupational tabu is not limited 
to the stage, and may actually have been borrowed from the wide- 
spread notion of sailors themselves, that it is bad luck to whistle 
aboard ship (No. 3467). The same belief is held by miners, and 
a friend of mine told me of a cub reporter's being mercilessly re- 
buked by an older hand for whistling in the city room of a big New 
York newspaper only twenty-five years ago. The tabu against 
whistling may stem from the old belief that one would whistle up 
the devil, just as sailors can whistle up "a breeze of wind" (cf. No. 
3474). As one might expect, the beliefs and superstitions of sailors 
and the sea are not well represented in the Brown Collection, and 
the folklore of the stage hardly at all. To see the application of 
points raised here, therefore, one should consult the standard work 
on the folklore of sailors by Bassett; likewise, Ralph Freud's essay 
in Western Folklore (1954) contains a good survey of the folklore 
of the theater, and will bear out points made here. 

In an illuminating essay in the first volume of the Mitteldeutsche 
Blatter fiir Volkskimde (1926), Eugen Mogk has treated the lapses 
of the man of science into the realm of folklore and fancy, and called 
attention to the general dichotomy between nature and culture, and 
between intuition and science. If he insists that every KuUur- 
menscli has within himself also the rudiments of a Natunnensch, 
and the proclivity to explain things as they suggest themselves to 
his mind, or to his fancy, he is only expressing ideas that go back 



INTRODUCTION XXI 

to the time of Rousseau and Herder, when in pre-Freudian inno- 
cence scholars untutored in the mental sciences speculated about 
the dark and unfathomed reaches of the human mind. This 
dichotomy within cultivated society itself — and not the basic dif- 
ferences between primitive and civilized peoples — has been one of 
the most difficult of all problems with which scholars have had 
to deal in establishing the discipline of folklore. 

A closer look at the subject will reveal, on the one hand, that 
superstition has to do witli beliefs and practices so patently false 
as to be at once personally injurious, or even socially harmful; 
yet in turn many of these superstitious notions, as Carveth Read 
(Man atid His Superstitions) has observed, may be "of a negligible 
or frivolous kind." The latter faiths and foibles are perhaps better 
to be described as "popular beliefs," and in spite of advance notices 
running through the first five volumes of the Brown Collection, I 
have prevailed upon the editors to include this important (and pre- 
dominant) category of beliefs in the title itself, along with the 
announced title of Volumes VI and VII centering around the word 
"superstition." 

Alfred Lehmann, one of the most learned students of superstition 
and magic, has a definition which has been widely accepted. "Super- 
stition," he writes, "is any general assumption, which cannot be 
justified in any specific religion, or which is at variance with the 
scientific conception of nature at a given time" (freely translated 
from the German, Aberglaubc nnd Zaubcrei von den dltesten 
Zeitcn an bis in die Gegenzvart). Since it leaves many things un- 
said, this formulation is only partially satisfying, but it does once 
and for all point up the spiritual and emotional side of superstition 
as well as its mental and intellectual aspects. Perhaps the most 
compelling kinds of superstitions are those which spring basically 
from religion, or rather its baser part, irreligion. This misbegotten 
form of religion is better expressed in the German word Aberglaube 
and the Danish word Overtro, which can be freely rendered as 
'false faith.' It is false faith in its myriad forms which causes man 
to store his mind with the mental baggage of a bygone day and 
to hedge himself about with rituals and practices that will secure 
him favor or protect him from harm. Belief in the separable soul 
that can wander even in life, belief in the living dead, and in the 
awful powers that are thought to animate nature and to thwart 
and victimize man in a thousand ways obtain now only among 
aboriginal peoples. Many of these primitive beliefs, however, are 
still to be found among us in vestigial form, and are attested not 
only by numerous items in the chapters on "Birth, Infancy, and 
Childhood" (I), "Death and Funereal Customs" (VII), and "Witch- 
craft, Ghosts, and Magical Practices" (VIII), and in other chapters 
as well, but also by entries on police blotters all over America, 
and a wide variety of revelations wrung out in the confessional or 
elicited in a medical clinic or upon the psychiatrist's couch. 



XXll INTRODUCTION 

Not all superstitions drawn from this vast reservoir of irrational 
thought, as has already been noted, have evil consequences. Many of 
them are idle conceits, or quaint notions kept alive for amuse- 
ment and whimsy, and many may actually have been perpetrated 
to challenge the imagination. In a former day many of them were 
certainly nothing more than the childish soliloquies of old crones 
as they drove their geese across the village common. It will be up 
to the reader to decide in individual cases the esteem in which 
these views were held, and perhaps still are, and to what stratum 
of folk or primitive thought they are to be assigned. 

Superstitions and popular beliefs may be classified under various 
convenient categories such as those employed in this collection, but 
they are best studied and understood as genres of folklore in terms 
of the fundamental views and thought processes by which they 
emerge in the first place. These so-called folk notions, after all, are 
the very things which differentiate folklore in all of its forms from 
the more orderly and rational view of the vvorld and man as they 
are seen through the applications of science and its handmaidens 
in the various fields of learning. In the field of magic, which un- 
derlies many fields of folklore and which is a basic part of super- 
stition, Frazer has brilliantly argued the misapplications of science. 
"In short," he says, "magic is a spurious system of natural law; 
it is a false science as well as an abortive art." This idea is 
elaborated in the first book of The Golden Bough, and particularly 
in the famous chapter on "Sympathetic Magic." in which the notions 
of Homoeopathic or Sympathetic Magic are enunciated, and those of 
Contagious Magic as well. We shall see various applications of 
these principles in the North Carolina Collection, but first it might 
be best to discuss the somewhat simpler concepts of cause and effect 
as they apply to the vast and diverse materials at hand, and to see 
how they are thought to operate — and how they are supposed to 
function throughout the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, 

I follow Eskerod (Arets Aring : Etnologiska studier i skordens 
och julens tro och sed, Stockholm, 1947) in distinguishing between 
omens which of themselves — and without human agency — betoken 
various events or states of being, and human acts which bring on 
effects, whether for weal or for woe. The following simple examples 
from the Brown Collection will illustrate the difference between 
the essentially intransitive character of the subject clause in what 
Eskerod, employing actional and perfective Latin participles, calls 
the ominant-ominai relationship, and the actional aspect in the 
introductory clause of the caiisant-causat sequence: "If bubbles rise 
to the top of a cup of coffee (oiiiiiiattt), you will be rich" (ominat 
[No. 3360]). "If you eat goose on New Year's Day (cansanf), 
you will be rich" (causat [No. 3358]). Since the second category 
usually involves a personal subject rather than an impersonal one, 
the range of action is wider and may include inadvertent failure to 
act or actual avoidance in order to prevent untoward happenings. 



INTRODUCTION XXlll 

"If a farmer fails to plant a row of corn in the cornfield by over- 
sight (causant), some member of his family will die before the 
harvest time" (cansat [No. 5351]). "If you take the last piece of 
food on the dish (causant), you will be an old maid" (cansat [No. 
4665]). This notion was widely believed in former times, but no 
doubt was a tabu enjoined upon young g:irls by pranking women- 
folk to promote good manners. 

Animals acting with human prescience may also figure, of course, 
in active and volitional situations, yet the degree of belief in the 
animal as a causative agent in matters affecting itself, or human 
beings, would depend upon the power of fancy in different indi- 
viduals. The following examples suggest the range of these ideas. 
"When the squirrels bury their nuts early (ominant [even though 
the animal acts]), there will be a hard winter" (ominat [No. 
6079]). Whereas in the folk mind the squirrel may be thought to 
exercize predictive powers, there is nothing to indicate a belief that 
his own provision for winter would in any way intensify the 
severity of the weather. On the other hand, where human destinies 
are vitally at stake, the animal might be thought to play an almost 
determinative role: "If a cat washes her face near a crowd of 
people (causant [?]), the one she looks at first will be the next to 
marry" (cansat [No. 4469]) ; "If a bird pecks on the house (causant 
[?]), count the number of times, for they signify the number of 
days before a death will occur in that house" (causat [No. 5278]). 
In the first example, a determinative function is ascribed to the cat, 
and in the second a portentous knowledge is imputed to the bird as 
a messenger of death. With regard to the latter, most superstitious 
people would not take lightly any such death warnings, whether, 
for example, by the howling or barking of dogs (Nos. 5205 ff.), 
or by the hooting or screeching of owls (Nos. 5303 ff.). These 
creatures are so firmly fixed in the folk mind as messengers of 
death that it is but a simple matter for the untutored mind to ex- 
tend upon this role and give them an active and almost personal 
part in indicating where death shall strike next. 

Interesting though these speculations into animal wisdom and 
power are, it is not known how widely these primitive views are 
still held in the United States and how deep they go. Yet even 
in an age when animistic beliefs are thought not to have survived 
the Romantic Age, many thousands of rural folk in all parts of the 
country still cherish, for example, a belief in tlie quickening of 
animals on Christmas Eve so that they are made to know instinc- 
tively of the great events of the Holy Night (Nos. 6012 ff.). 
Further evidences of animate nature at this hallowed season are 
seen in the beliefs that on Old Christmas (January 6) hop vines 
spread out, even if there is snow on the ground (No. 6016). and 
that water is thought to turn into blood at midnight (No. 6017). 
These notions, particularly of animals kneeling in their stalls (Nos. 
6013 f.), or of speaking (No. 6015), have survived from an earlier 



XXIV INTRODUCTION 

age, and may be taken as manifestations of a human awareness 
extending through the whole universe — a faith expressed so well in 
'The Cherry Tree Carol' (Child Ballad No. 54), wherein the un- 
born Christ child prophesies His birthday as falling "on old 
Christmas morning" or "the sixth day of January, / When the hills 
and high mountains shall bow unto me." 

Folk notions about animals, of course, do not extend into the 
field of totemism, yet the lucky white horse, itself all but gone from 
American streets, presents a good case study — perhaps the best that 
can be offered — of the close attachment of man to the dumb crea- 
tion, and at the same time particularizes an almost anthropomorphic 
reverence for the once favored pride of street and pasture. From 
the Brown Collection alone, the following notions about white 
horses, among others, show the range of these ideas. "If you 
count one hundred white horses, you will find some silver" (No. 
3415). This same idea is found in the next belief, but is elaborated 
to involve the favored "stamping" ritual : "If you see a white 
horse, kiss your right hand, and stamp it twice on your left hand, 
you will find money" (No. 3416). Another custom on seeing a 
white horse, even more strongly ritualized, involves spitting on 
the ground and crossing the feet over it (the saliva itself) as an 
essential step on the part of a child who expects to receive a gift 
after chancing to see such a horse (No. 473). In the assorted be- 
liefs about white horses (Nos. 7099-7109) that have to do with 
one's wishes coming true, and with the "stamping" ritual itself 
(No. 7105), there are two verbal charms, in which there is im- 
plicit belief on the part of the child that the horse will hear his or 
her entreaty, and "act" to bring it about, if the child says: 

Lucky, lucky white horse, lucky, lucky, lee. 

Lucky, lucky white horse, bring luck to me. (No. 7100) 

The second one, also involving salivary magic, is as follows: If 
you see a white horse, spit on your finger and say, "Polly, polly, 
white horse" (No. 7107). No request is voiced, but the invocation 
is apparently one bespeaking confidence. An interesting instance 
of the faith in a white horse as a bringer of good fortune goes back 
to the presidential campaign of 1896, when supporters of William 
Jennings Bryan came up with the following political jingle: 

Bryan rides the white horse, 
McKinley rides a mule; 
Bryan is elected, 
McKinley is a fool. 

(Knortz, 35). Knortz notes that the idea of the white "Wunsch- 
pferd" ("wishing horse" or "magic horse") of Odin has been 
preserved in this quatrain, but one would be on far safer ground to 
think of this as resting on popular American conceptions of the 
white horse, and perhaps as even being based on existing folk 
rhymes. That there is such a folk poetic tradition has been shown 



INTRODUCTION XXV 

by Patricia Evans who was able to pick up a variant of this verse 
over sixty years later from the lips of San Francisco school children 
who celebrated the rivalry between California and Stanford in the 
following bit of street doggerel : 

Berkeley rides a white horse, 
Stanford rides a mule; 
Berkeley is a gentleman, 
Stanford is a fool. 

(Sticks & Stones, 31), 

These beliefs do not stop with childhood, where good fortune, 
lucky finds, and gifts of various kinds result from seeing a white 
horse, but extend into the realm of love and marriage. Seeing white 
horses as a prelude to meeting one's future intended (No. 4472), 
for example, or counting white horses (Nos. 4473 ff.), are beliefs 
widely known in America, and are of European derivation. An 
item of considerable interest in connection with the numerous divin- 
atory love rituals enacted before mirrors, over glasses of water, 
or at wells and springs, depicts the white horse in a more active 
role, even as a "bringer," and reveals a singleness of purpose be- 
tween humans and animal kind not often encountered in folklore out- 
side the realm of fairy tales where such empathy is common. "Look 
into a well with the sun shining on the first day of May, and you 
will see your sweetheart riding on a white horse" (No. 4434). 
Of interest, in passing, is the unexplained connection, in the popular 
mind, of white horses and redheaded women (Nos. 3804, 4091, 
passim), but this belief may be taken as one more evidence of strong 
human ties with the white horse. Beliefs in the magical power of 
a white horse extend also into the field of folk medicine. A child 
with whooping cough, for example, may be cured if it is made to 
drink out of a vessel just used by a white horse (No. 2714). This 
notion verges closely on contagious magic, and is but one of 
hundreds of folk curative practices in America involving animals 
and animal products. Similar indications of contagious magic, 
although in somewhat attenuated form, are the childhood beliefs of 
the good fortune accruing from touching (No. 7103) or tagging 
(No. 7109) a white horse, the meaning of the latter not being en- 
tirely clear. 

In keeping with the widely operative principle of reversal in 
magic, and in other fields of folk belief and folklore, one is not sur- 
prised to find the white horse also cast in more ominous roles. 
These views range all the way from bad luck (No. 7098), or bad 
news (No. 4099), if you dream of a white horse, to the notion that 
it is bad luck for a man to take his bride home behind a white 
horse (No. 4860), and finally to beliefs of various kinds about 
death itself (Nos. 5232 ff.), the most striking one being the per- 
sonification of Death riding a white horse (No. 5234). Thus 
we have seen attached to a single domestic animal various odd be- 



XXVI INTRODUCTION 

liefs, magical notions, and ritualistic practices. Most of the items 
mentioned are fragmentary in character, and all are without narra- 
tive matrix. Even so, the thoughtful reader of the great monographs 
of Schachermeyr, Koppers, Negelein, and other writers on the 
horse in Indo-Germanic mythology, and in modern European 
folklore, will not find it difficult to connect many of these beliefs 
and practices with a vigorous tradition going back at least three 
millennia, and encompassing many parts of southern Asia, the Near 
East, and all of Europe. 

To a more limited degree, one could show a similar range of 
belief in the activity and power of lesser notables of the hearth and 
the barnyard such as the cat, the dog, and the rooster, and of many 
wild creatures as well. Of the wild animals figuring prominently 
in folk belief, perhaps the squirrel, the snake, the owl, and the spider 
are as well represented in North Carolina as any others, from the 
point of view of the range of belief and the ritualistic practices 
attaching to these animals. Here, as elsewhere in the South, the 
redbird is also the object of more than passing notice in matters 
of popular fancy. The cuckoo bird, on the other hand, well known in 
the British Isles and elsewhere in Europe for its numerous connec- 
tions in folklore, is hardly encountered in North Carolina popular 
tradition (Nos. 6714 f.) ; nor does it figure much in folklore else- 
where in the United States even though several species of cuckoos 
are found. 

Contagious magic was briefly mentioned in the discussion of the 
lucky white horse. Now we can look in more detail at some repre- 
sentative kinds of superstitions and beliefs in which the magic of 
contact operates. By this principle of contagion it is held that 
things once conjoined remain forever sympathetically attached, 
even though dissevered. As a corollary, it is believed that these 
separated parts, containing, as they do, an essence of the whole, may 
be utilized with an efficacy essentially unimpaired by the separation. 
By placing at his disposal various resources outside himself, con- 
tagious magic notably extends man's power, and puts him in a posi- 
tion to work his will on his fellows and to command even the very 
forces of nature. He must beware, of course, for as in other kinds 
of magic, these same powers may be enlisted against him. Among 
civilized peoples, and certainly in the United States where the 
tradition is far weaker than in Europe, these harsher applications 
are much modified, and are not encountered to any real extent, 
except in conjury, where conjure bags are usually qualified with the 
hair or nail parings of the victim (cf. No. 5543). In witchcraft 
proper, contagious magic is found mostly in connection with in- 
vultuation (No. 5549), a weird magical practice familiar to stu- 
dents of literature through Rossctti's 'Sister Helen.' 

Following are random examples of contagious magic in the 
Brown Collection, and still further items will be found in the dis- 
cussions of "measuring," "plugging," riddance of warts by sale, etc. 



INTRODUCTION XXvii 

"One who eats a deer's gall will have the speed and wind of a 
deer" (No. 646). "Swallowing a fish's bladder will make you a 
swimmer" (No. 647). Both of these items involve homoeopathic 
magic as well as contagious magic. "A new baby will resemble the 
first person who carries it down the stairs, or out of doors" (No. 
167 [imitative as well as contagious]). "When a tooth is pulled, 
you must bury it under a rock, for if a dog steps (walks, runs) 
over it, a dog tooth will come in its place" (No. 390). "Stepping 
continuously in another's footprints will cause severe headaches" 
(No. 1576). The elements to a full understanding of this item are 
lacking. Contagious magic is fairly common in popular beliefs 
(and rituals too!) involving love: "If you will steal a piece of a 
boy's or a girl's hair, and sew it in your coat or dress, he or she 
will get crazy about you" (No. 4233)- "To keep a woman true, 
take some dirt from her right foot track and a wisp of her hair 
on the back of her neck and stob it in the hole with a hickory stob" 
(No. 4255 ["plugging"]). Practices of a more malevolent sort are 
seen in the following three items: "If you carry a lock of hair of a 
person, you will have power or control over that person" (No. 
5546). "Wet a rag in your enemy's blood. Put it behind a rock in 
the chimney. When it rots your enemy will die" (No. 5550). "If 
anyone follows you and walks in your tracks, you will die" (No. 
4909). 

Homoeopathic or imitative magic is much more commonly en- 
countered in the civilized community than is contagious magic, and 
examples of this branch of the general category of sympathetic 
magic are easy to adduce. Here are some typical items from 
North Carolina: "If a woman sees a corpse before the birth of her 
child, the baby will be pale in complexion" (No. 170). "If a person 
holds a coin and looks over his shoulder at the new moon, he is 
sure to have more money before the month is over" (No. 3436). 
The basic notion back of this belief is that as the moon waxes, so 
will your money increase. "If the first person that comes to your 
house on New Year's Day is a woman, nearly all your young 
chickens will be hens, but if your first visitor is a man, they will 
be largely roosters" (No. 7442). "'If you want to raise lots of 
strong pepper, make a person with a strong temper mad and get him 
to sow the seed. Don't let the person know or suspect your design ; 
catch him off guard" (No. 8184). It will be noted that contagion 
is a collateral factor here, the "heat" of the person's temper being 
transmitted to the plant through the seed he or she casts. 

The law of similarity is very common in folk medicine, and its 
operating principle has been neatly formulated in the Latin phrase, 
similia similibus curantiir ('similar things are cured by similar 
means'). The following examples will indicate the range of these 
ideas, both as they involve the bringing on and the curing of 
disease. "If rain strikes a child's face before it is a year old, its 



XXVlll INTRODUCTION 

complexion will become rusty and freckled" (the Pennsylvania 
item under No. 1519). "If a mother makes light of an afflicted 
person during her pregnancy, her child will be afflicted" (No. 120). 
"Fireweed will cure erysipelas (St. Anthony's fire)" (No. 1353; 
also red oak bark [No. 1355]), erysipelas being bright red in color. 
"A lock of hair tied very tightly at the top of the head will pull 
up a fallen palate" (No. 1395.) "Tickling a child causes it to 
stutter" (No. 346). Here the physical spasms induced by tickling 
are sympathetically associated with jerky and halting speech. A 
single example from veterinary medicine will suffice : "Hogs must be 
altered when the sign is in the feet. If the sign is above the waist, 
the hogs are then sure to bleed to death" (No. 7683). The logic 
back of this is that, if the sign is above the waist, or near the 
heart, bleeding will be profuse, and vice versa. 

A curious blending of homoeopathic and contagious principles 
is seen in a whole series of examples involving the application of 
antiseptic measures after the fact, some of which curiously suggest 
the "weapon salve" compounded in the seventeenth century by Sir 
Kenelm Digby of the Royal Society, and sold to treat weapons that 
had inflicted wounds. For puncture wounds by splinter, nail, fish- 
hook, or whatever, the wounding instrument is greased, sterilized 
by fire, or put in a place to keep it dry, on the theory that if the 
instrument is kept from rusting and corroding, the wound itself will 
similarly not fester. "To prevent lockjaw, remove the nail from the 
foot, grease the nail with tallow, and drive it into a board or other 
wooden object where it will remain dry. As long as the nail re- 
mains dry lockjaw will never occur" (No. 1786). And, with a 
verbal charm in addition : "If a fishhook pierces the hand, stick 
it three times into wood, in the name of the Trinity, to prevent 
festering" (No. 1736). In various other kinds of preventive meas- 
ures, where the victim is directed to put the splinter, nail, or 
other piercing instrument into the hair, e.g., Nos. 1737, 1779, 
2221 f., this is probably done to utilize the natural oil of the hair 
to prevent rust or corrosion. If the supposed electrical properties 
of the hair are involved, this is nowhere mentioned. In this same 
realm of corrective action after the fact, though with a different 
twist, is the following delightful item : "To prevent rabies, kill 
the dog, and the person bitten will be safe" (No. 1692). Related 
to this, though involving folk notions of immunization, and the 
principles of similarity and contact as well, is the well-known 
prescription of "the hair of the dog that bit you" (Nos. 1292 f.), 
now also jocularly applied to a drink of liquor the morning after to 
cure a hangover. As in the case of dog bite, snakes are killed and 
applied to the wound to counteract their own venom (cf. Nos. 
2139 ff., especially Nos. 2141-2145). On the theory that "it takes 
poison to kill poison," ivy leaves are rubbed on poison ivy sores 
in West Virginia (cf. No. 1945 [notes]). 



INTRODUCTION Xxix 

Notions of the transference of disease to plants or animals, with 
or without the death of the latter, as first described in Black's 
classic Folk-Medicine, of riddance by "measuring," "plugging," 
"stripping," and other forms of divestment, including "sale," or by 
other transfer of the disease to human beings, strongly involve ele- 
ments of contagious and homoeopathic magic. They are of such 
importance as to deserve systematic treatment here. "Climb a tree 
with your hands (do not use feet) and then jump off to leave your 
fever in the tree" (No. 1465). "To cure chills and fever, knot a 
string and tie it to a persimmon tree" (No. 1094). "If you feel a 
chill coming on, get a toad-frog, or have one got, put it in a paper 
bag, and hold in your lap fifteen minutes. The chill will go into 
the frog. Then put him out on the ground, and he will shake him- 
self to death" (No. 1054). "Take as many pebbles as there are 
warts. Rub them on the warts. Roll them in paper and throw 
them away, and the finder takes the warts" (No. 2638). 

"Measuring," by means of knots in a string, notches in a stick, 
and similar methods, likely involves a notion of the extent to which 
a disease may go before being arrested. There is usually a corol- 
lary act by which the measuring device, into which the disease 
has symbolically passed, is thrown away, floated away in water, 
buried or put in a dry or out-of-the-way place, or otherwise rendered 
harmless. "To protect a child against croup, measure a child with 
a stick, put the stick in the closet and keep. When the child grows 
past the measure he will never have any more croup" (No. 302). 
"For phthisic, measure yourself with a broomstick, and put the 
broomstick upstairs where you will never see it again" (No. 1924). 
"Go to a running stream, get a twig, and cut as many notches in 
the stick as you have warts. Throw the twig into the stream, 
and never look back, and they will go away" (No. 2628). "Bunions 
'measured' with an ordinary broom straw will disappear" (No. 
974). "To remove warts, take a string and tie as many knots in 
the string as you have warts. Place it where the rain drops off the 
house, and place some dirt on it. In three days the warts will be 
removed" (No. 2440). 

Following the Handzvorterbuch des dcutschen Aberglanbens, I 
adopt the term "plugging" (verpflocken) for acts of contagious 
magic whereby diseases or other unwanted things are plugged up 
and rendered harmless, often preliminary to the therapeutic results 
desired. In many cases measuring and similar practices are also 
involved. "For undergrowth, the child is measured by the door 
jamb, a hole bored by an auger at his exact height, a lock of hair 
from the head of the child put in the hole, and a wedge driven in 
and whittled off smoothly. The child will grow rapidly there- 
after" (No. 176). "To cure a wart, prick it, and wipe the drop of 
blood off with a rag; then bore a hole in a white oak tree, and put 
a peg in to hold the rag in place. Then whisper to the wart every 



XXX INTRODUCTION 

night for nine nights, 'Be gone,' and it will disappear" (No. 2583). 
"For the toothache, take an eyelash, an eyebrow, trimmings of the 
fingernails and toenails of the patient, bore a hole in a beech tree 
and put them in. The sufferer must not see the tree, and it must 
not be cut down or burned" (No. 2341). "Plugging" in magic and 
witchcraft is much rarer in the United States than in folk medicine 
elsewhere, and I therefore cite an example not found in the Brown 
Collection. "If you get a lock of a person's hair and plug it up 
in a maple or hickory tree with salt and pepper, as the hair rots, 
so will the person sicken and die" (Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 1684). This ritual is better known in Europe, and in Denmark, 
for example, the spirits of the malevolent dead are plugged in dead 
trees for safe keeping, much in the manner that a woodpecker stores 
nuts in the trunk and large branches of trees. A modern American 
example of this kind of "plugging" was recorded in San Mateo, 
California, only ten years ago: "Hammer a pin into a telephone 
pole. By this act one puts all one's bad luck into the pole. Should 
someone pull out the pin, the bad luck returns" (WF, viii [1949]. 
261, No. 4). 

Riddance of disease or infirmity by stripping and divesting is 
not uncommon, and is usually managed by pulling the patient 
through a cleft in a tree, or under a bramble or other kind of bush 
whose drooping branches have taken root again somewhat out from 
the trunk. This act of "passing through," or "pulling through," 
as we may call it, is seen in the following examples: "If you pass 
a child afflicted with asthma through a split in a tree, it will effect 
a cure" (No. 828). "Pass a child three times through the split 
trunk of a young tree to cure rickets" (No. 337). "To cure hernia 
(rupture) in a young child, pass him three times through the split 
trunk of a young tree, and tie the split pieces together again ; if they 
grow together, the child will be cured" (No. 311). "To cure 
whooping cough, find a blackberry or raspberry bush whose top has 
been turned down and taken root, make the patient crawl under it 
three times" (No. 2721). The ritualistic aspects of "passing 
through" are well portrayed in item No. 321, too long to reproduce 
here. In a related practice, liver-grown children, and those suf- 
fering from adhesions, are pulled between rungs of chairs, or 
passed under a donkey's belly or through its legs. Here, however, 
the idea seems rather to be one of stretching or tearing free the 
viscera. The closest thing to this in the Brown Collection is No. 
348: "If baby has the stretches, pass a horse collar over the baby's 
head seven times. This cures it." Examples of stretching and con- 
tortion could be multiplied from the Pennsylvania-German tradi- 
tion. The ritual of "passing through" appears to be related to 
notions of purification of blood guilt in ancient times by forcing 
individuals, or whole armies, to pass under gates or yokes, by which 
act they were "stripped," as it were, of attaching stigma. 



INTRODUCTION XXXI 

Riddance by sale is closely related to some of the notions of 
transference of disease already expressed. The single example 
cited needs no commentary. "Sell your warts for money, throw the 
money away anywhere [sic] but on your own land. Whoever picks 
up the money will also get the warts" (No, 2680). 

Since witchcraft and ghostlore are well represented in the 
Brown Collection, and since these categories run strongly to super- 
stition and magical practices, I have annotated Chapter VIII with 
special fulness so that comparative material might be as rich as 
possible. Theoretical discussions, where the facts warrant, are 
taken up under individual items, but the following general observa- 
tions are in order here. First of all, no hard and fast lines can be 
drawn between witchcraft and conjury, since folk notions about both 
these branches of the black art seem to be expressed in pretty much 
the same terms. In the classical conception of witchcraft it would 
appear that the witch acted largely by retaliatory magic to redress 
wrongs done her. This she did by working her so-called maleficimn 
on man and beast alike, inducing sickness, impotence, madness, and 
even death, not to mention the havoc wreaked on crops, on out- 
buildings and farm implements, and on the gear of the dairy. A 
second notion was that the witch casts spells of various kinds for 
her own gain, usually in terms of the products of field and barn- 
yard. American examples of witchcraft in the realm of plant 
husbandry usually have to do with the destruction of crops, not 
to the stealing of whole fields of grain, and other such predations. 
The most considerable body of witchlore surviving in the United 
States concerns cows and dairying, and North Carolina examples 
are readily found in the chapter on '"Animal Husbandry" (Nos. 
7537 ff-) passim). An idea of how firmly ingrained these old 
superstitions are may be gained from an unpublished Indiana item 
in my collection dating from the first World War. My informant 
reports that there was a special pan at the far end of the spring 
house where milk was kept. This pan of milk was placed there 
expressly for the witch, the theory being that if she were properly 
remembered, she would not harm the other milk placed out for the 
cream to form. 

In the more elaborate patterns of institutionalized witchcraft, 
only weakly represented in American witch stories, the witch is 
made to work with the devil to compass evil and thwart the work 
of God. Most of these stories involve some kind of pact with the 
devil, as may be seen in a few representative items from the North 
Carolina collection (Nos. 5581 ff.). 

If, as we have seen in the foregoing survey, the idea of material 
gain is not prominent in connection with the witch's activities — 
not even in the purloining of milk — neither would financial nor 
other gain seem important in connection with conjury. Once more, 
however, the beliefs listed in this collection, stripped as they are of 



XXXll INTRODUCTION 

narrative detail, fail to establish the fact that the conjure man or 
witch doctor belonged to a more or less professional class, and that 
his services were for hire. Fees would be charged of clients for 
casting spells (Nos. 5536 ff.) or counteracting them (Nos. 5559 
ff.), and the types of services ranged from the making or finding of 
money, to recovering lost objects, to securing the affection of some- 
one of the opposite sex, to working various kinds of sickness and 
harm on people, and even death itself. Often the remuneration to 
the conjurer was not in the form of a fee, but rather a free-will 
gift. In some cases the prestige of the office, and the respect in 
which one was held as a worker of magic, was its own reward. 
The following item from Maryland confirms the views expressed 
above, and is the best single formulation I have come upon : "The 
'conjurer' of Maryland differs from the witch. He is more like the 
sorcerer in that he is a doctor, sometimes called 'conjur doctor.' 
For a consideration he will supply the means for laying a spell. He 
does less harm to cattle than the witch does, but more to human 
beings. The witch and the conjurer are, however, often con- 
founded" (Whitney-Bullock, No. 1676). A broader picture of 
conjury than it is possible to give here may be gained by turning to 
Puckett's admirable Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro. The 
practices of white conjurers do not differ in any essential regard 
from those of Negro witch doctors, but there appear always to 
have been a smaller number of white practitioners. It is perhaps 
through this select group rather than by broader popular diffusion 
that many of the conventional notions of witchcraft found their way 
into the stock-in-trade of conjury. Influence in the other direction 
by and large seems not to have been so pronounced. 

Only the activities of ghosts and other kinds of spirits that return 
from the grave have been considered under ghostlore. Folk notions 
of the soul or spirit between death and burial, or wraiths prior to 
death, are considered in Chapter VII under "Death." As in the 
case of witchcraft and conjury, here too one finds ghosts and spirits 
sharing some of the attributes of other magical characters, per- 
forming the same or similar functions in many cases, and being 
subjected to the same limitations. These ideas of stable "function" 
and variable "dramatis personae" as they relate to the folktale have 
been ably expressed by Propp {Morphology of the Folktale). The 
following recurring motifs will afford insight into how individual 
notions are freely associated in all of these fields. The presence of 
spirits, ghosts, witches, etc., are indicated by warm or hot air : 
Nos. 5601 (witches), 5714! (ghosts), 5733 (spirits), 5751 (hants) ; 
revealed by lights: 5712 (ghosts), 571 1, 5713 (the restless dead 
walking), 5735 (wandering spirits); they are seen by dogs: 5617 
(witches), 5722 (ghosts), 5738 (spirits), 5757 (hants) ; and seen 
by horses: 5721 (ghosts), 5783 (goblins). They may be avoided 
or combated by the following means: brooms: Nos. 5634 (witches), 



INTRODUCTION XXXIU 

5742 (spirits) ; the Bible: 5666 ff. (witches), 5705 f. (nightmare); 
horseshoes: 5627 f., 5670 (witches), 5727 (spooks), 5741 (spirits). 
Silver or silver coins carried or worn will protect one against con- 
jury (Nos. 5565 ff.) and witches (Nos. 5685 ff.) ; cast into bullets, 
this precious metal will dispatch evil spirits (No. 5691), witches 
(No. 5697 ff.), and hants (No. 5763). Mention should be made 
of putting garments on wrong side out, or changing them that way on 
purpose as a means of protection: Nos. 5657 f. (witches), 5714 
(ghosts), 5747 (spirits), 5766 (jack-o'-lanterns). 

Perhaps the last category of magic actions may be used to show 
the wider ramifications of individual motifs, and the free trans- 
ferring of ideas from category to category, and from field to field. 
These changes are made at first perhaps with a clear notion of the 
basic efficacy of the measure, but as this fundamental relationship 
is lost sight of, then the applications may likewise become dimmed, 
and finally deteriorate into nothing more than notions of good or 
bad luck. This weakening is hastened when the item is torn free 
of its background of custom and usage, if any, or stripped of its 
narrative setting. As we have seen, pockets are turned to break 
charms from witch-rabbits or witch-cats (familiar spirits of witches 
I No. 5639]), ghosts (No. 5714), spirits (No. 5747), and jack- 
o'-lanterns (No. 5766) ; but they are also turned after the hooting of 
an owl to prevent sickness (No. 713). t^r death (No. 5304). or 
merely to make an owl stop screeching (No. 7271), to keep the 
shivering owl from shivering (No. 7270), or to avoid the bad 
luck that will ensue after a black cat (No. 3840 f.) or a rabbit 
(Nos. 3871 f. ) crosses the road in front of you. The owl as a 
messenger of deatli (Nos. 5303 ff.) and as a witch's familiar (Span- 
ish Southwest as well as in various parts of Europe, and from 
classical times forward), and the cat (Nos. 5592 f., 5605, 5618 
[witch-cat], 5659, 5661, 5675) and rabbit (Nos. 5619 [witch- 
rabbit], 5659, 5661) as familiars serve to explain the use of the 
same means (turning the pockets) to combat similarly bane- 
ful events, namely, sickness, death, and bad luck. Finally one 
comes to the simple belief that bad luck may be averted (No. 
3178), but plain bad luck, of course, is not the same kind as is 
likely to result from traffic with black cats or witch-rabbits. Turn- 
ing the pockets to avoid losing at bridge is now completely divorced 
from associations with witchcraft, but there can be little doubt as to 
whence the idea ultimately derives. The serious student can pursue 
the transferring of motifs from field to field, or from category to 
category to his heart's content in Thompson's Motif-Index of Folk 
Literature. For those wishing to pursue the implications of this 
great work in a connected way, there are two recent studies of con- 
siderable importance that deal with recurrent substantive motifs, 
and chart the movement of simple ideas over great distances with 
hardly enough narrative framework to make them cohere: Matti 
Kuusi, Regcn hex Sonncnschein (FFC, No. 171), a study based 



XXXIV I X T R O n U C T I N 

essentially on folk beliefs found in all parts of the world, and 
Barbara Allen Woods, The Devil in Dog Form (Folklore Studies, 
No. ii), a monograph compiled from European and American 
legendry. Both studies contribute new methodological techniques 
which workers in the field of comparative folk belief will find very 
helpful in trying to assess materials all too often shorn of their 
background and cut hopelessly adrift. 

Nowhere do folk beliefs seem to be so divorced from their natural 
setting quite so much as in the field of custom and usage ; yet 
individual beliefs persist in such strength as to suggest that many of 
the ideas now expressed as idle curiosities might have had more 
vital connections with the customs and ceremonies of birth, mar- 
riage, and death, and of the lesser rites de passage than it is possible 
to demonstrate at this late date. Whereas European workers have 
been able to consider superstitions and folk beliefs as part of broad 
ethnological studies by country, region, or special occupational 
and ethnic groups, American folklorists have not been in any 
such enviable position. In default of full ethnological data, and 
in fear of losing wliat precious relics of folk life still remain, they 
have concentrated on the breadth of their collecting, not on its depth, 
nor on the meaning and connections of the material collected. 
Fortunately, the studies of Randolph (and particularly his Ozark 
Superstitions), Puckett, E. G. Rogers, Brewster, and a few other 
dedicated workers, will serve to show where much otherwise fugi- 
tive material belongs, and what it means or may have once meant. 

The ritualistic aspects of such medical practices as "measuring," 
"plugging," "passing through," etc., alluded to above, would sug- 
gest the close connection between belief and custom, and it might be 
instructive now to give a sampling of other practices that grow out 
of folk beliefs, or that illustrate them in some way, however tenuous. 
The most considerable body of these ritualized beliefs is to be 
found in connection with love divinations. They range from 
the elaborate old-fashioned "dumb supper" (Nos. 4322-4327) to 
lesser domestic pastimes such as divination by eggs (No. 4489), 
by assorted bedroom rituals (Nos. 4353 ff., especially Nos. 4359, 
4363), and to divination by mirrors (No. 4419) and water (No. 
4425). Finally, there are the better known customs of divination 
by apple pips (Nos. 4588 ff.), peelings (Nos. 4594 ff.), daisies (Nos. 
4576 ff.), and wishbones (Nos. 4492 ff.). The practice of hat 
burning upon birth of the first child, particularly if a boy, is one 
of the most curious of the old folk customs to survive (Nos. 226, 
266). Many other rituals, all based on the efiicacy of the belief, or 
of divination, are found throughout Chapter VI. No comparable 
body of material attaches to the customs of birth and childhood, yet 
certain divinatory rites were carried on to determine the number 
of children (Nos. 132 ff.), their sex (not in Brown Collection), 
and their fortunes (Nos. 205 ff.). The large body of burial customs 
encountered in the literature is not too amply represented in the 



INTRODUCTION XXXV 

North Carolina collection, but items in connection with the care for 
the dead (Nos. 5404 fit'.) and the funeral itself (Nos. 5427 ff.) will 
reveal the nature of these practices. The custom of destroyin.c: the 
bedding, repainting rooms, etc., after a death, reveals the extent to 
which the effect of death would linger in the house unless it were 
ceremonially cleansed (No. 5433). 

In the realm of animal husbandry, the "stamping" of white horses 
has been noted, but the blessing of animals, still practiced in Europe 
and in the American Southwest, has not been reported from North 
Carolina. "Telling the bees," a formal custom in many areas, is 
known, but the ceremonial aspects are glossed over (Nos. 7519 f.). 
Nor are agricultural ceremonials, now fast dying out, reflected in 
the present collection ; but Randolph and other writers have traced 
out the vestiges of old fertility customs in the Ozarks country and 
other parts of the South. Weather rituals are now pretty much 
limited to killing and hanging up a snake to bring rain, but the 
slight variations with which this act is carried out (Nos. 6743 ff.) 
hardly justify thinking of this as a ritual ; it is, however, definitely 
a custom. Measures taken by sailors at sea to bring wind fall more 
clearly into the realm of ritual (Nos. 3471 ff.). 

Now that attention has been given to various kinds of magical 
beliefs, and to different categories of magic itself, we may conclude 
this part of the introductory essay with a brief discussion of verbal 
magic, or charms. From earliest times, and from the lowest forms 
of magic and of religious expression, people have set store by the 
power of the human voice, and the special efficacy of words. These 
utterances fall into two main categories, those calculated to achieve 
positive results, and those designed to work harm and evil. Simple 
blessings or implorations — in fact, invocations of any kind — 
may partake of the nature of the charm ; although usually automatic 
fulfilment is envisioned, and the charm does not stop with a pious 
wish fervently expressed. At the other end of the scale, curses, too, 
reflect the basic idea of the charm, namely, automatic compliance 
or fulfilment, and a literal carrying out of the words' meaning. 
The idea goes deeper than this, of course, for the words, whether 
for good or evil, invoke some higher (or lower) power that can and 
will carry them out. This power in some cases may reside in the 
vi'ords and sounds themselves, and be independent of any divine or 
evil power to carry out the injunction. Long ago, Grendon studied 
Anglo-Saxon charms, but comparatively few workers have since 
addressed themselves to this tradition in England or America. 
The Reverend Thomas R. Brendle has been busy for some years with 
a collection of charms from the Pennsylvania-German country, and 
Archer Taylor and I hope to bring out a general collection for the 
United States and Canada as soon as time permits. Following 
are some representative kinds of items from North Carolina. 
"An everyday cure for cramp is to remove the sufferer's shoe and 
turn it upside down [itself a magical act], then rub the painful 



XXXVl INTRODUCTION 

part, repeating the following words : 'I spread the pain in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. If it is a 
pain, in the name of the Lord, O spread it out of the flesh, out 
of the sinews, out of the bones'" (No. 1243). For the children's 
charms used to recover lost items, and involving the "Spit, spat, 
spo," or "Spit, spit, spy" ritual and charm, see the notes to No. 
459. "When sleeping in a strange room, place the shoes in the 
shape of a "T" and say : 

I place my shoes in the shape of a T, 

I hope this night my true love to see; 

The shape of his body, and the color of his hair, 

In his everyday clothes that he used to wear. 

The wish will come true; you will dream of your lover" (No. 4374). 
"If you see a ghost coming toward you at night say, 'What in the 
name of the Lord do you want with me ?' and it will go away" 
(No. 5725). The mere mention of the name of the Lord appears to 
be efficacious, for in this example no command is given or request 
made. "When the first star appears, wish, and say: 

Star light, star bright, 
First star I've seen (I see) tonight; 
I wish I may, I wish I might, 
Have the wish I wish tonight. 

Do not look at another star before you finish the rhyme, or tell the 
wish" (No. 5956). "To charm away rain, children say: 

Rain, rain, go away, 

Little (name of child) wants to play." (No. 6867). 

"To make a small bug come up from the ground, say, 'Doodle-bug, 
doodle-bug, come up and get sugar.' And to make him go down 
again, say, 'Doodle-bug, doodle-bug, go down in the ground.' " 
(No. 7361). Ordinary calls to animals, or directions in driving 
teams, in milking cows, or in slopping hogs, I take it, hardly 
qualify as charms, even though the animal is formally addressed. 
On the other hand, people talk with cats and dogs in almost human 
terms. "While sowing the seeds of turnips and other small seeds, 
the men would sing, 'Some for you, some for I, some for the debble, 
and some for the fly' " (No. 8255). The Brown Collection contains 
no formal written proclamations to rats to leave the premises, such 
as have been found elsewhere in the country. These were charms, 
of course, but involved the additional ritual of posting the notice 
in the cellar and elsewhere, and were attended by considerable 
amusement. In my unpublished collections for California I have 
a reference to a similar invocation to gophers to quit a grain field. 
Now that we have discussed some of the more important features 
of popular beliefs and superstitions, we may pause to consider mat- 
ters of structure and style, since to some extent these external 
features bear a deep and real relationship to the beliefs themselves. 



INTRODUCTION XXXVll 

Of the formal and stylistic aspects there is really not a great deal to 
say. Folk beliefs are usually expressed in few words and involve a 
simple predication, either in the present tense ("Each child costs 
a woman a tooth" [No. 13]), or in the future ("Thunder will cause 
the fish to stop biting" [No. 7780]). Future situations, insofar as 
they eventuate from conditions or acts in the present, often involve 
the logic of the conditional sentence, if not its formal structure. The 
conditional sentence involving an if-clause has been treated above in 
connection with the theories of Eskerod, but we may consider here 
some of the different ways that have been found to replace the 
strict conditional with other structural forms that bring out the 
essential cause-and-effect relationship that is so crucial in supersti- 
tion and folk belief. Infinitives pointing to desired ends, for ex- 
ample, may serve as a substitute : "To bring rain, kill a blacksnake, 
and hang him in a tree with his belly up" (No. 6750) ; so may 
prepositional phrases of purpose, introduced by "for" : "For eye 
troubles, use the gall of a bat" (No. 1366). Note also the use of 
the imperative mood in these two examples, and the action which 
it imposes upon the person himself as a condition of the fulfilment. 
Gerunds may also be employed as a periphrastic for a conditional : 
"Eating turtle hearts will cause a man to be brave" (No. 7325). 
Even the stereotypes for good and bad luck, in so far as the person 
himself may induce or avert these ends, are by nature conditional : 
"It is good luck to find a four-leaf clover" (No. 7910) ; "It is 
bad luck to leave a hand mirror turned up" (No. 3057). This last 
example might be made to read, "If you leave a hand mirror turned 
up, you will have bad luck" ; so might the examples in which other 
verbal periphrastics are used, and, for that matter, so might even 
the item beginning with the preposition "for," e.g., "If you have 
eye troubles, use the gall of a bat." Apart from the verbs "be" 
and "become," which are widely used, and to a lesser extent "have," 
there are certain kinds of common verbs which connect a condition 
with its conclusion, or which indicate or otherwise anticipate a 
result, e.g., "cause" ("To put an umbrella on the bed causes dis- 
putes" [No. 3587]), "make" ("Tickling a child will make it stam- 
mer" [No. 343]), and "bring" ("Cats carried on an ocean trip 
bring on storms" [No. 6920]). Likewise, common verbs of 
avoidance are employed, such as "prevent" ("To prevent bad luck 
after dropping a school book, kiss it" [No. 432]); "keep" ("Put 
flint rocks in the fireplace to keep hawks from catching chickens" 
[No. 7481]); "avoid" ("To avoid being bewitched, never lie on 
your back while asleep" [No. 5665]) ; "stop" ("A brass ring stops 
cramps in the finger" [No. 1238]). The preposition "against" 
may likewise be used in these situations : "Against hydrophobia 
wear a dog's and a wolf's tooth" (No. 1694). 

Where simple contingencies are involved, as in most of the 
ominant-omiyxat situations discussed by Eskerod, ordinary verbs of 



XXXVlll INTRODUCTION 

all kinds serve to point out the concomitant or resultant state, but 
such verbs and other locutions as the following? are frequently used : 
"expect" ("When sea gulls fly inland, you may expect rain" [No. 
6730]) ; "promise" ("Spinning a chair around on one leg promises 
seven years of bad luck" [No. 3044]); "indicate" ("A hat worn 
turned up in front indicates the vv'earer has wheat for sale" [No. 
8294]) ; "is a sign (of)" ("If your lips itch, it is a sign you want 
to be kissed" [No. 4165]). Such verbs as "betoken," "portend," 
and "foreshadow," liberally sprinkled throughout the Brown Col- 
lection represent more often the phrasing of collectors than of the 
informants themselves. In a few cases where ideas were incom- 
plete or the text needed clarification, the editor himself yielded to 
some of these more formal designations. 

Occasionally a condition is expressed without a verb, such as 
"Dimple on the chin, devil within" (not in the Brown Collection), 
or "Cold hands, warm heart" (cf. No. 569). Folk beliefs involving 
rhyme are rare, and a good many of those employing this mnemonic 
device are also often regarded as proverbs, where rhyme is in far 
wider use: "When the wind is in the north, / Skilful fishers go not 
forth" (No. 7752) ; "If you marry in Lent, / You will live to re- 
pent" (cf. No. 4765). Perhaps most of these beliefs couched in 
rhyme occur in the Chapter X on "Weather," and are among the 
best known items in the whole Collection : "Evening red, morning 
gray, / Sets the traveller on his way ; / Evening gray, morning red, 
/ Puts the traveller in his bed" (No. 6123; see also familiar items 
from here to No. 6140). Numerous less well known rhyming 
weather beliefs are found in this same chapter, such as : "When 
frogs croak, / Winter's broke" (No. 6043) ; "When the stars begin 
to huddle, / The earth will soon be a puddle" (No. 6557) ; "Clear 
moon, / Frost soon" (No. 7071); "Many hips and haws, / Many 
frosts and snaws" (No. 7093). 



The present collection represents the work of some two hundred 
collectors and informants from approximately seventy of the one 
hundred counties in the state, but with duplicate numbers and all, 
it is likely that the total number of contributors is much higher than 
this, and that perhaps the i>ercentage of counties traversed is also 
higher than the tallies of actual collectors and informants would 
indicate. My estimate of contributors is based on an actual count 
of the informants whose items were selected for the text, and is 
therefore lower than Professor White's figures published in the 
general Introduction (i, 27) ; on the other hand, my estimate of 
duplicates, and of anonymous contributions, is much higher than 
his. Durham county is the best represented from the standpoint 
of number of informants (18), followed by Stanly (11), Wake 
(8), and Watauga (7) counties, in that order. Twenty-eight 



INTRODUCTION XXXIX 

counties IkuI only a single contributor with a repertory lar,<je enough 
to code in transferring the items from large sheets of paper to 
single slips, but many of these same counties had individual in- 
formants who contributed a few items. The strength and depth of 
the material really comes out in the listing of duplicate entries 
following the name and county of the person submitting the item 
finally selected for a given number. This choice was made on the 
basis of content and other textual factors, including apt phrasing, 
dialectal features, and general flavor. Items rich in detail, of 
course, were in all cases given preference. Where duplicates ran 
from five to twenty or more items, it was early decided, in con- 
sultation with the general editors, not to attempt to tally the dupli- 
cates by counties, but rather to summarize them by general areas 
of the state. In the light of these facts the estimates given above 
are very conservative, and one would be justified in believing that 
the material is pretty well distributed over the entire state. Even 
so, the tier of counties in the extreme western tip of the state 
has hardly been touched, and the collecting has likewise been very 
spotty in the counties bordering on the ocean and on South Caro- 
lina. One gets the feeling that superstitions and popular beliefs 
were collected as by-products of the quest for folk songs and other 
forms of folklore, even though Professor Brown was himself in- 
terested in them, and added quite a number of individual items of his 
own. There are only two really sizable contributions that went 
into the Brown Collection, the some 500 items collected by Paul 
and Elizabeth Green of Chapel Hill, and the 550 items turned in 
by Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught of Alexander county. As reper- 
tories go, neither of these collections is especially large. (Professor 
Puckett, now busy with a standard collection of superstitions and 
beliefs for Ohio, for example, reports the receipt of more than 1,500 
items from Mrs. Almeda Porter Rozelle. Brunswick. Ohio, with no 
end to her stock-in-trade yet in sight.) Collections of two hundred 
or more items came from Zilpah Frisbie of McDowell county, 
Mamie Mansfield and Lucille Massey of Durham county, Kate 
S. Russell of Person county, Mrs. Nilla Lancaster of Wayne 
county, and Katherine Bernard Jones of Wake county. Entries 
of at least twenty out-of-state informants, temporarily resident in 
North Carolina, are included in the collection, but the percentage of 
items contributed would not exceed one-half of one per cent of the 
total. Newspaper items have been used only when they appeared un- 
der North Carolina date lines, but some of the out-of-state material 
has been utilized in the notes. "Galox," a name that bedeviled the 
editors, appears to have been the name of a man who used this as 
a pseudonym to contribute beliefs to some local newspaper, with 
the town not stated. 

In the processing of material on the vast scale that was 
necessary to put the Brown collectanea out for editing, it was in the 
nature of things that much information about informants became 



xl INTRODUCTION 

lost. To compensate for this loss, I have felt compelled to include 
any kind of information that would give an authentic notion of the 
raw material before it underwent the successive refinements of 
collectors, clerks, and stenographers. Accordingly, colorful speech 
has been preserved, and likewise any kind of explanation necessary 
to a full understanding of the belief or superstition in question. 
It is a matter of regret to everyone that there are not more entries 
like Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton's detailed account of the use of a 
black cat in the treatment of shingles (No. 2096), and the following 
shorter samples, which somehow providently escaped the collector's 
paraphrase. "Keep a new bottle hung up to the left by a string clost 
to a sick person's bed, and keep the bottle stopped might tight so's to 
skeer the witches out of the house" (No. 5690). "When the first boy 
is born in a family, the old women of the neighborhood collect and 
burn all of the hats that the baby's father owns. This brings good 
luck, and if it isn't done, the baby won't be 'wuth a cent,' and old 
Urim will get him" (No. 266). "In the old days, the way to insure 
an obedient wife was to offer her the 'britches' the next morning after 
marriage. Whenever she got too 'biggity,' all you had to do was to 
remind her of that offer" (No. 4869). "When younguns have got 
chicken pox, you lay 'em down on the floor and shoos the chickens 
out over 'em. Hit'll break 'em out in two hours. Why the day the 
baby got'em, I se'd the fust bump comin' and I shood the old Domin- 
necker over her and she was all pimpled out in an hour" (No. 1019). 
In the last item there is not the slightest doubt about the in- 
formant's belief in the efficacy of her prescription, and this attitude 
toward folk beliefs might hold rather generally for people who 
have folk prescriptions of one kind and another for various things 
that come up in the course of a day. If these ideas are repeated 
over and over again, and especially if they are brought out to 
illustrate a point, give a warning, or state an unusual point of 
view, it is fair to assume that the person believes, or partly be- 
lieves, the folk beliefs he continually falls back on. On the other 
hand, if informants are quizzed for items that they know, or that they 
have heard, one can hardly be so sure that the belief expressed is 
really a part of them. There have been several studies on super- 
stitious belief in the United States, ranging from junior high school 
students to college students, where controlled testing is possible, but 
I do not know of anyone who has attempted to find out in any 
systematic way about the degree of belief which real folklore in- 
formants place on their material. Well-trained collectors nowadays 
make judicious inquiries into these matters part of their field 
technique, and it seems to me that studies made of these findings 
would really be more to the point than, for example, the studies 
of Dresslar and of Driver (cited in the bibliography) for college 
students and that of Jaggers (The Superstitions of Junior High 
School Pupils [George Peabody College. Contributions to Educa- 
tion, No. 160] ) for junior high school students. Whenever there 



INTRODUCTION xH 

is reference to an actual belief in a given item, I invariably note 
tliis fact, giving full details wherever possible. Following nomen- 
clature developed by Swedish folklorists, I have designated as a 
"memorat" all items vouciied for as having occurred, or ])eing 
known, in one's own family or immediate circle. A good example of 
a "memorat" is seen in an Illinois item cited in support of a belief 
expressed in item No. 5525: "If you attend the burial of one of your 
family, the first member of your family to leave the cemetery will 
be the next to die." From Hyatt: ". . . Years ago when I was 
a boy and we were living out here in the country, when we would 
go to a graveyard, everyone would stand around. No one wanted 
to be the first one out of the graveyard, because they would be the 
next one to have a funeral in their house" (No. 10346). Occa- 
sionally after such a statement as this, an informant might be able 
to cite an actual example of trouble in his own family or that of 
a neighbor. Whenever evidence of this kind was found in the 
field notes, it unfailingly found its way into the annotation. 

The beliefs in this collection were gathered during the first four 
decades of the present century, but a large number are certainly 
referable to the last quarter of the ninetenth century, if not earlier. 
The bulk of them are far older than it is possible to show in face of 
the gaping lacks in our knowledge. Only as works of early 
American writers in all fields are searched for folk beliefs and 
popular customs, and as natural histories and theological treatises 
yield up accounts of natural prodigies and divine providences shall 
we be able to establish chronologies in the colonial period and 
thereafter for popular notions of God and the universe, of the devil 
and powers of evil, and of sin and retribution. Almanacs must be 
patiently searched for what they will tell of the cosmos and the 
weather, of animal and plant husbandry, and of the practices of home 
and farm, including prescriptions in the rich field of folk medicine. 
Only Gale's Almanac, which enjoyed considerable favor in North 
Carolina in the early years of the nineteenth century, is cited in 
this collection, Paul Green occasionally drawing old references from 
it to elucidate some item which he turned up in modern oral tradi- 
tion. Also, as Louis C. Jones has so often insisted, old diaries must 
be ransacked for what they will reveal of the many intimate human 
beliefs and practices of former generations and centuries that are 
now largely veiled in obscurity. That important links with the past 
can still be forged has been shown in a series of studies on the 
utilization of folklore by nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers 
which have appeared in the Southern Folklore Quarterly, Western 
Folklore, and in other journals. These searches must be pressed 
back to the eighteenth and finally to the seventeenth century itself. 
If the account is to be complete, it must include vestiges of ma- 
terial deriving even from the French and Spanish explorations. 

As has been stated, no claim can be laid in the present collection 
to establishing the historical depth of the material presented, or 



xlii 



INTRODUCTION 



even to fixing- the age of a representative number of items. This 
will have to await fuller researches in the broad field of American 
popular beliefs and superstitions. But in charting the geographical 
distribution of items around the United States and Canada, the edi- 
tors of the North Carolina collection have laid the foundation upon 
which more penetrating studies can rest. The forthcoming articles 
of Herbert Halpert on the setiological explanations of thunder, on 
the man in the moon, and on bogeymen, will show what directions 
these special studies must take. 

The wealth of material brought to light in a single southern state 
shows, by way of contrast with every other form of folklore, in- 
cluding folk speech itself, the tenacity of folk belief in the face of 
an advancing civilization. Only five years ago in another southern 
state, Alabama, Ray B. Browne was able to collect over 4,000 items 
in one summer's time, garnering this material from only 104 in- 
formants, and largely as a by-product of his folk song collecting. 
His feat is hardly less remarkable than the work of Harry Middle- 
ton Hyatt in making a collection of over 10,000 items from a single 
county in western Illinois just twenty-five years ago. That the 
collecting of folk beliefs in America can be said to be getting only 
well under way, is seen in the fact that only approximately three 
items in four in the Brown Collection have analogues elsewhere on 
the basis of my extensive files, and that Browne's Alabama collec- 
tion shows that approximately only four items out of five in his col- 
lection have analogues in the Brown Collection (which is from the 
same region) and from other states. To give a notion of the magni- 
tude of the material that awaits the collector, I may be pardoned for 
making reference to my own work. My unpublished collections from 
California number over 20,000 items, including duplications, and 
roughly a third of this number await processing for Utah. In my 
experience in classroom collecting, a student who can muster but 
a single riddle may know as many as a half a dozen proverbs, and 
will be able to adduce without difficulty a dozen or more popular 
beliefs and superstitions. My own experiences are confirmed by 
other workers in all parts of the country, whose files are bulging 
with material awaiting publication. The persistence of folk beliefs 
when many of the other conventional forms of folklore are dying 
out reinforces the notion already expressed with considerable con- 
viction that folk beliefs and superstitions have a vitality and close- 
ness to life uniquely their own. 

Unfortunately, the collecting of folk beliefs (and this holds 
true for most other forms of folklore as well) has been at best, 
sporadic. As an area, only the South has been well collected, but 
even here several states exhibit only token yields. New England 
was searched early in the century, but there is not a single state that 
has been covered with the same thoroughness, say, as Kentucky, 
Tennessee, or Maryland, not to mention North Carolina or Alabama. 
New York and Pennsylvania arc better off, and the monumental 



INTRODUCTION xliii 

collection of Puckett, now well along, will give Ohio a work 
second to none in the whole country, representing as it does, field 
surveys in every county of the state, and heavy representation 
from Cleveland's polyglot population, as well as from otlier urban 
centers. Among the Central States, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa 
are well represented. The Ozarks and the Southwest, and particu- 
larly Te.xas, have been worked, but the Great Plains states, Nebraska 
excepted, have scarcely been touched. The big Kansas Folklore 
Society project, now being carried forward by William E. Koch and 
Samuel J. Sackett, promises to bring in material from every county 
of the Jayhawk State. No studies of consequence, save Benjamin 
Moya's collection of Spanish superstitions from New Mexico, have 
appeared anywhere in the West, although there have been stirrings 
in several western states. The most neglected area in the whole 
United States is the northern tier of states from Washington and 
Oregon clear across Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas all the way to 
Minnesota and Wisconsin. Michigan is poorly represented, and 
will be until the great collections of Richard M. Dorson and Thelma 
James are published. The latter collection, largely from Detroit, 
promises to be exceedingly rich in ethnic material. Among foreign- 
speaking groups, good beginnings have been made for the Pennsyl- 
vania-German area, and for parts of eastern Canada, but the North 
Central States and the Midwest, where Germans settled in large 
numbers, have not been searched; neither have such large German 
centers as Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. The 
great Scandinavian population across states along the northern 
border, as alreatly mentioned, and anchoring in the large Scandi- 
navian centers of Minneapolis and Seattle, is a completely virgin 
field. A good beginning has been made in French Canada, but 
much work remains to be done in the French-speaking areas of the 
lower Mississippi, and in various points up the Mississippi and its 
tributaries, which were colonized by the early Jesuit fathers. 
Thanks to the Texas Folklore Society, a good start has been made 
among the Mexican population of Texas, but New Mexico, Ari- 
zona, the Spanish-speaking parts of Colorado, and California need 
systematic study, not to mention the northern provinces of Mexico 
itself. Only in recent years have workers turned their attention to 
the rich Slavic material in some of our large eastern cities, but to 
date, only samplings have been published. The same goes for'ltalian, 
Greek, and other strains coming to our shores from beyond the 
Mediterranean. All of these gaps can be filled in ten years' time 
if determined starts are made on a wide front. Collectors will do 
well also to concentrate on ethnic enclaves in rural areas. Here 
they will find many items living on, in an arrested state in accord- 
ance with principles affirmed in dialect studies involving so-called 
"speech islands." As an example of this "cultural lag," two of 
my colleagues recently recovered two variants of an old Sephardic 



xliv INTRODUCTION 

song in Seattle that can no longer be found in its eastern Mediter- 
ranean habitat. 

in 

In the present edition the notes have been arranged in logical 
geographical progression, starting with cognate material in published 
collections from North Carolina itself, and then moving to adjacent 
southern states on down to the Gulf; then, starting with the 
Canadian provinces and moving successively through the New 
England states ; then across New York and Pennsylvania to Ohio 
and the Middle and Great Lakes states ; then to the Ozarks and 
the Southwest; then to the Plain states, and westward to the Pacific 
Coast. This arrangement has the merit, as over against straight 
alphabetical listing by states, provinces, and regions, of showing the 
relatedness of material, and the development of a tradition along 
regional lines. Once the basic geographical scheme is mastered, 
reference is almost as easy as by alphabet. Italic type is used 
to facilitate the searching by state and region. European and general 
references fall at the very end, but European-American items are 
noted in parentheses state by state, as they occur. 

Regional treatment in the notes makes possible rapid surveys of 
the occurrence of a given item in different parts of the country. 
This can often be helpful in determining where items are known, 
and thrive, and where they are not encountered. For example, 
"When a cat rubs his paws over his ears when washing, visitors 
are coming" (No. 3935), is a belief reported only in Canada, New 
England, and Pennsylvania. It is known in both the French and 
German traditions. "If you raise an umbrella in the house, some- 
one in the house will die" (No. 5096), is met with in New York, 
the Middle West, the Plains states, and in California, but in the 
South it is found only in Maryland, itself a "border" state. "It is 
good luck to have a squirrel cross the road in front of you" (No. 
3876), is reported in several southern states, but elsewhere only in 
Nova Scotia. The custom of eating hog jowl and peas, or black- 
eyed peas, on New Year's Day is an old southern custom practiced 
to insure good luck and prosperity for the year (Nos. 2826 ff.). 
It is found, of course, all over the South and to a limited extent 
in the Middle States too, whither it was no doubt carried by settlers 
from the South in a pattern of folklore dissemination familiar to 
folk song and ballad scholars as "the southern tradition." That 
geographical typologies will ever be worked out for large numbers 
of superstitions and folk beliefs in the United States, as has been 
done for ballads and songs, is most unlikely, yet for certain cate- 
gories of material such classifications might be extremely helpful. 

As regards the charting of superstitions and folk beliefs along 
international lines, this will eventually come. Bohn and the Reins- 
berg-Diiringsfelds have shown that comparative scholarship is 



INTRODUCTION xlv 

possible in the field of the proverb, and Archer Taylor's English 
Riddles from Oral Tradition is a monument to an even broader 
kind of geographical and ethnic analysis. In the earliest period of 
folklore scholarship, it was shown by the Grimms and other workers 
that folk tales have traveled around the world. In a related narra- 
tive form, tlie ballad, scholars next were able to show that good 
ballads had enough appeal to travel great distances and to accli- 
matize themselves in new surroundings. That shorter forms too — 
proverbs, riddles, superstitions, and beliefs — move great distances, 
and are widely shared, is, I think no longer open to question, even 
though documentation is more difficult because of the brevity of the 
items, and the tenuous narrative matrix or other means by which 
these short items might be carried and remembered. Even before 
I had come upon Kuusi's remarkable study, I had ceased to wonder 
at finding analogues of what I presumed to be homespun and hand- 
spanked North Carolina items in such widely assorted places as 
Scotland, Norway, Austria, and Macedonia. From these common- 
place associations many inferences may be drawn to buttress theories 
enunciated for the spread of more substantial genres of folklore. 
One thing is clear : Whatever happened with folk tales, and with 
ballads and folk songs, also happened to a greater or lesser degree 
with proverbs, with riddles, and with superstitions and popular 
beliefs. Although little emphasis has been placed on the European 
analogues in this study, the collection will no doubt prove useful 
to scholars abroad who will be quick to see American analogues 
of items held in common European stock. 

The system of classification adopted employs the best features 
of other works in the field, and is an orderly arrangement calculated 
to show the full range of American folk belief all the way from 
notions surrounding the three main events of human life, namely, 
birth, marriage, and death, to beliefs in ghostlore and witchcraft; 
from the pursuits of farm and fireside to ideas concerning weather 
and meteorological phenomena which are so important to animal 
and plant husbandry; and, finally, from travel and communication 
to social institutions and pastimes of various kinds that sustain 
man in his vicissitudes and brighten his day. 

Within individual chapters the basic organization revolves 
around states of being, or end results, with an attempt being made 
to show, in orderly progression, the causes or agents believed to 
lead to these ends, or, as is often the case, to avert them. Classi- 
fication of the kind chosen, of course, has the disadvantage of not 
being able to give any adequate picture of the total range of belief 
in which one of these lesser items might be involved. For this 
kind of dictionary approach, the reader will be forced to fall back 
upon the topical index. Now for the classification itself: generally 
human agents or human actions come first, followed by animals, 
plants, physical elements, and finally by things close to the domestic 
hearth. In some cases, notably in Chapter X, "Weather," where 



xlvi INTRODUCTION 

physical and nieteorological factors bulk much larger, and partic- 
ularly in the section of "Rain," human indicators of rain are post- 
poned ; but in keeping with the general arrangement, when they 
are fitted in, they are followed in turn by animals and plants. 
Oftentimes the scarcity of material — not enough, say, to make a 
full category — occasioned slight regroupings. In situations where 
multiple aspects of a thing or situation figured, treatment is by an 
association of ideas within a given category. Thus, for example, in 
the first section of Chapter VI, "Love, Courtship, Marriage," name- 
ly, "Portents of Body, Clothing, etc.," classification begins with 
the hair, and the related use of hairpins, moves through facial parts 
and bodily functions, then to the hands and feet, together with 
jewelry and clothing as well as functions associated with these 
extremities. In addition to being actually more complicated for 
situations of this kind, alphabetical listing would in no way show 
the relationship of things which logically belong together. On the 
other hand, alphabetical classification seems most appropriate for 
the various ailments and diseases treated under "Folk Medicine" 
(Chapter II), as well as for categories of animals and plants in the 
chapters on "Animal and Plant Husbandry" (Chapters XI, XIII). 
Regardless of how individual chapters have been classified, enough 
headings have been supplied to insure easy reference. Texts from 
other states and regions which diverge in any substantive way from 
the numbered items in the Brown Collection have been given in 
parentheses in their variant readings. Occasionally significant 
verbal changes have also been noted. With the supplying of these 
details the scope of many items in the collection has been con- 
siderably widened. Likewise, ethnic background, when other than 
Anglo-American, is properly noted. 

As the critical apparatus grew, short titles had to be devised to 
keep the notes within manageable limits. For a while the numeri- 
cal designations used in early volumes in the Brown Collection 
were employed, but as duplications of surnames occurred one by one, 
identifying sigils proved more practicable; hence, the twofold 
practice which could have been avoided had it been possible to 
excerpt all works of reference at one time. In entries involving 
different authors of the same last name, e.g., Rogers and Wilson, 
alphabetization is under short title, not by author's name. To have 
used initials in the notes themselves, in addition to taking more 
space, would likely have proved more confusing than short titles. 

Since all my energies were bent on maximum American coverage, 
which I regard as an incontestable first step in the systematic study 
of American popular beliefs and superstitions, European annotation 
has had to suffer. For the British Isles, which have contributed so 
importantly to American culture, and to American folklore, I have 
excerpted, besides Radford (which was compiled from standard 
regional collections — but alas without references!) only four col- 



INTRODUCTION xlvii 

lections entire, but they are geot,'raplncally well distributed: Napier 
(Scotland), Addy (midland counties), Udal (Dorsetshire), and 
Foster (Ireland). Liberal reference, however, has been made to 
some of the standard collections such as Henderson, Harland and 
Wilkinson, Gregor, and Leather, not to mention Notes and Queries 
and Lean's Collectanea. Because of its special importance for the 
study of witchcraft and other magical beliefs and practices, I have 
carefully worked through Dalyell's Darker Superstitions of Scot- 
land (1835), Richard Inwards' classic Weather Lore has also been 
searched. The coverage given to animal and plant husbandry, 
sailing and the sea, as well as other genres of folklore, gives In- 
wards a usefulness well beyond the immediate field indicated by the 
title. Feilberg and Wessman have been used, but not systematically 
searched. The two works of Storaker, on the other hand, have been 
exhaustively utilized. Only parts of Schrijnen, Sebillot, and van 
Gennep have been searched, and from Wlislocki and Krauss I have 
taken only chapters that bear on witchcraft and related fields. The 
one redeeming feature of the European coverage is the careful 
searching of the Handworterbuch des deutschen Abcrglaubcns, which 
fortunately gives a pretty accurate picture of all of Europe, includ- 
ing German speech islands as far away as Rumania. Thompson's 
Motif-Index of Folk-Literature has not been exhaustively searched, ^ 
but the coverage is better in Volume II, and particularly in the im- 
portant chapter on witchcraft, than in the first volume. This short- 
coming has been somewhat offset by a thorough search of Ernest W. 
Baughman's unpublished A Comparative Study of the Folktales of 
England and North America, which has been worked into the second 
edition of Thompson's parent work. 

The Brown Collection has already been used to a limited extent 
as a work of reference, most notably by Ray B. Browne in his ex- 
cellent collection from Alabama, and it is my hope that it will 
continue to serve as a point of departure for the many important 
studies that must still be compiled for different parts of the country. 
Ultimately, when enough of these regional studies have been pub- 
lished, we can begin to think in terms of a Dictionary of American *' 
Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. The almost 200,000 well classi- 
fied items in my files are a start in this direction, and those refer- 
ences which have not been used at all in annotating the Brown 
Collection will be worked into later collections, among others, those 
planned for California and LUah. 1 shall welcome inquiries on 
individual items, and will gladly make the files available to scholars 
able to come to Los Angeles to use them in the annotation of state 
or regional collections. All workers interested in this somewhat 
neglected field of superstitions and folk beliefs owe a hearty vote 
of thanks to Duke University for its unstinting support of a worthy 
project, and for its wise decision to move from the one volume 
originally planned to a second volume. This is a most fitting way to 
complete its admirable seven-volume set of North Carolina Folklore. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED 



With Short-title Listings and Abbreviations 

(References in the notes are to author only, or where needed, to 
author with additional short-title entry. Unless otherwise specified, 
numbers following author entries refer to pages. Where reference 
is by number, or by page and number, the abbreviation "No.," 
followed by numbers, or sometimes by augmented numbers, is used 
e.g., Beckwith, College, No. 64b [as in item No. 41 18]. Additional 
bibliography will be found in Volume VII for Chapters VII-XIV.) 

Addy Sidney Oldall Addy. Household Tales With 

Other Traditional Remains Collected in the 
Counties of York, Lincoln, Derby, and Not- 
tingham. London, 1895. 

AFQ Alberta Folklore Quarterly. Edmonton, 1945- 

1946. 

Allen Prudence Allen. "Love and Marriage in York 

State Lore," NYFQ, v (1949), 257-67. 

Allison Lelah Allison. "Folk Beliefs Collected in 

Southeastern Illinois," JAFL, lxiii (1950), 
309-24. 

Andrade Manuel J. Andrade. Folk-Lore from the 

Dominican Republic, MAFS, xxiii. New 
York, 1930. 

ANQ American Notes and Queries. New York, 

1941-1950. 

Arias Juan de Dios Arias. "Superstitiones Popu- 

lares," Revista de Folklore, iii (July, 1948), 
265-68. 

Backus I Mrs. E. M. Backus. "New England Folk Be- 

liefs in the Last Century," JAFL, xlv 
(1932), 501-2. 

Backus II Mrs. E. M. Backus. "New England Folk Be- 

liefs in the Last Century," JAFL, xlviii 
(1935), 196-97. 

Backus, Emma Backus. "Weather Signs from Con- 

Weather necticut," JAFL, viii (1895), 26. 

Baker- Wilcox Pearl Baker and Ruth Wilcox. "Folk Reme- 

dies in Early Green River," Utah Humanities 
Review, 11 (1948), 191-92. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED 



Barnes 



Bassett 



Bauehman 



Bayard 



Baylor 

Beckwith, 
College 

Beckwith, 
Jamaica 

Berdau 



Bergen, 

Animal 



Bergen, 
Current 



Bergen, et at 

Birlinger 

Black 



Gertrude Barnes. "Superstitions and Maxims 
from Dutchess County, New York," JAFL, 
XXXVI (1923), 16-22. 

Wilbur W. Bassett. "Illinois Folk-Lore: Some 
Beliefs of Children and Youths," The Folk- 
Lorist, I (1893), 157-58. 

Ernest Warren Baughman. A Comparative 
Study of the Folktales of England and North 
America. Indiana University diss. (1953). 
Cited by motif number only. 

Samuel P. Bayard. "Witchcraft Magic and 
Spirits on the Border of Pennsylvania and 
West Virginia," JAFL, li (1938), 47-59- 

Dorothy J. Baylor. "Folklore from Socorro, 
New Mexico," HF, vi (1947), 138-50. 

Martha Warren Beckwith. "Signs and Super- 
stitions Collected from American College 
Girls," JAFL, xxxvi (1923), 1-15. 

Martha Warren Beckwith. "Notes on Jamai- 
can Ethnobotany," Jamaica Folk-Lore, 
MAFS, XXI, New York, 1928. 

Emil Berdau, "Der Mond in Volksmedizin, 
Sitte und Gebrauchen der mexikanischen 
Grenzbewohnerschaft des siidlichen Texas," 
Globus, Lxxxviii (1905), 381-84. 

Fanny D. Bergen. Animal and Plant Lore Col- 
lected from the Oral Tradition of English 
Speaking Folk. MAFS, vii. Boston and 
New York, 1899. 

Fanny D. Bergen. Current Superstitions Col- 
lected from the Oral Tradition of English 
Speaking Folk. MAFS, iv. Boston and 
New York, 1896. 

Fanny D. Bergen, W. M. Beauchamp, and 
W. W. Newell, "Current Superstitions," 
JAFL, II (1889), 12-22, 105-12, 203-8. 

Anton Birlinger. V olksthilmliches aus Schwa- 
ben. 2 vols. Freiburg im Breisgau, 1861- 
1862. 

Pauline Monette Black. Nebraska Folk Cures. 
University of Nebraska Studies in Language, 
Literature, and Criticism, xv. Lincoln, 
Nebraska, 1935. 



BIBLIOCRAPIIY OF WORKS CITED 



ll 



Black, 

Folk-Medicine 



Bleakney 
Bogusch 
Botkin 
Boughton 

Bourke 



Boyer 



Brand-Ellis 



Brand-Hazlitt 



Brendle-Unger 



Brewster, 
Beliefs 

Brewster, 
Cures 

Brewster, 
Customs 



William George Black. Folk-Medicine: A 
Chapter in the History of Ctdture. Publica- 
tions of the Folk-Lore Society, xii. London, 
1883. 

F. Eileen Bleakney. "Folk-Lore from Ottawa 
and Vicinity," JAFL, xxxi (1918), 158-69. 

E. R. Bogusch. "Superstitions of Bexar 
County," PTFS, v (1926), 112-25. 

B. A. Botkin. A Treasury of American Folk- 
lore. New York, 1944. 

Audrey Boughton. "Weather Lore," NYFQ, 
I (1945), 123-25, 189-90, 251-52. 

John G. Bourke. "Popular Medicine, Customs, 
and Superstitions of the Rio Grande," JAFL, 
VII (1894), 119-46. 

Ruth A. Boyer. "Farm Lore : Insects, Ani- 
mals and the Weather," NYFQ, 11 (1946), 
74-76. 

John Brand. Observations on the Popular Anti- 
quities of Great Britain, Chiefly Illustrating 
the Origin of Our Vulgar Customs, Cere- 
inonies and Superstitions, ed. Sir Henry Ellis. 
3 vols. London, 1901-1902. 

W. Carew Hazlitt. Faith and Folklore: A 
Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions 
and Popular Customs, Past and Current, with 
Their Classical and Foreign Analogues. 2 
vols. London, 1905. 

Thomas R. Brendle and Claude W. Unger. 
Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans. 
The Non-Occult Cures. Proceedings of the 
Pennsylvania German Society, xlv. Norris- 
town, Pennsylvania, 1935. 

Paul G. Brewster. "Folk Beliefs and Practices 
from Southern Indiana," HFB, 11 (1943), 
23-38. 

Paul G. Brewster. "Folk Cures and Preven- 
tives from Southern Indiana," SFQ, iii 
(1939). 33-43- 

Paul G. Brewster. "Beliefs and Customs" in 
the Frank C. Brozvn Collection of North Car- 
olina Folklore, 1 (Durham, 1952), 223-82. 



Ui 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED 



Brewster, 
Specimens 

Brinton 



Brooks 

Brown, 
Birds 

Brown, 

Filipino 

Brown, 
Insects 

Brown Collection 



Bruton, 
Beliefs 

Bruton, 

Medicine 

Bryan 
Bryant, I 



Bryant, II 

Budge 

Bullock 

Bushnell 
Busse 



i'aul G. Brewster. "Specimens of Folklore 
from Southern Indiana," Folk-Lore, xlvii 
(1936), 362-68. 

D. G. Brinton. "Reminiscences of Pennsyl- 
vania Folk-Lore," JAFL, v (1892), 177- 
85. 

Henry M. Brooks. "Weather Sayings of Salem, 
Mass.," JAFL, 11 (1889), 309-10. 

Charles E. Brown. The Birds of the Campus. 
Madison, Wis., 1930. 

Hannah Pearl Brown. "The Superstitious Life 
of the Filipino," WF, xvi (1957), 27-2)6. 

Charles E. Brown. American Folklore — 
Insect Lore. Madison, Wis. n.d. [193?]. 

Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina 
Folklore, 7 vols. Durham, North Carolina, 
1952 ff. 

Hoyle S. Bruton. "Miscellany of Beliefs," 
North Carolina Folklore, 1 (1948), 20-23. 

Hoyle S. Bruton. "Medicine," North Carolina 
Folklore, 1, (1948), 23-26. 

Naomi Ruth Bryan. "Children's Customs in 
San Mateo," WF, viii (1949), 261. 

Margaret M, Bryant. "Folklore from Edge- 
field County, South Carolina : Folk Ways and 
Beliefs— Weather and Plant Lore," SFQ, 
XII (1948), 279-91. 

Margaret M. Bryant. "Folklore from Edge- 
field County, South Carolina: Beliefs, Super- 
stitions, Dreams," SFQ, xiii (1949), 136- 
48. 

Sir Ernest Alfred Thomas Wallis Budge. 
Amulets and Superstitions. London and 
New York, 1930. 

Mrs. Waller R. Bullock. "The Collection of 
Maryland Folk-Lore," JAFL, xi (1898), 
7-16. 

John H. Bushnell. "Medical Folklore from 
California," WF, vi (1947), 273-75. 

Ora S. Busse. "Indiana Folk Beliefs, Omens, 
and Signs," HE, vi (1947), 14-26. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED 



liii 



Busse, Norma Busse. "Superstitions of the Theater," 

Theater WF, viii (1949), 66-67. 

Butler A. W. Butler. "Local Weather Lore," Ameri- 

can Meteorological Journal, i (1884), 313- 
17- 

Campbell Marie Campbell, "Folk Remedies from South 

Georgia," TFSB, xix (1953), i-4- 

Cannell Margaret Cannell. Signs, Omens, and Portents 

in Nebraska Folklore, University of Nebraska 
Studies in Language, Literature, and Criti- 
cism, XIII. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1933. 

Carter Roland D. Carter. "Mountain Superstitions," 

TFSB, X (March, 1944), 1-6. 

Carter, Roland D. Carter. "Mountain Superstitions," 

Mountain Kentucky Folk-Lore and Poetry Magazine, 

III (January, 1929), 14-17. 

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tucky Folk-Lore and Poetry Magazine, v. 
No. 2 (October, 1930), 14-23. 

Paul Sartori. Sitte und Branch. 3 vols. Leip- 
zig, 1910-1914. 

Joseph Schrijnen. Nedcrlandsche Volkskunde, 
2nd ed. Zutphen, 1930-1933. 

Florence Johnson Scott. "Customs and Super- 
stitions among Texas Mexicans on the Rio 
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Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythologv 
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Paul Sebillot. Le Folk-Lore de France. 4 vols. 
Paris, 1904-1907. 



Ixvi 



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Sebillot I Paul Sebillot. "Traditions et Superstitions 

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vols. Paris, 1882, Vol. 2. 

Sebillot II Paul Sebillot. "Additions aux coutumes, 

traditions et Superstitions de la Haute- 
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VII (1892), 37-55 (Nos. i-iii); 94-107 
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Seligmann S. Seligmann. Der hose Blick und Verwand- 

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glaubens aller Zeiten und Volker. 2 vols. 
Berlin, 1910. 

Sener S. M. Sener. "Local Superstitions," Lancaster 

County Historical Society, ix (1904), 233- 
45- 

SFQ Southern Folklore Quarterly. Gainesville, 

Florida, 1937 ff. 

Shearin Hubert Gibson Shearin. "Some Superstitions 

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(1911), 319-22. 

Shoemaker Henry W. Shoemaker. Scotch-Irish and Eng- 

lish Proverbs and Sayings of the West 
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Simmons Frank Simmons. "The Wart Doctor," PTFS, 

XIV (1938), 192-94. 

Skeel Mary H. Skeel. "Superstitions of Childhood on 

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Smith I Grace Partridge Smith. "Folklore From 

'Egypt'," JAFL, Liv (1941), 48-59- 

Smith II Grace Partridge Smith. "Folklore from 

Egypt," HF, v (1946), 45-70- 

Smith III Grace Partridge Smith. "Negro Lore in 

Southern Illinois," Midzvesf Folklore. 11 
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Smith, Lovisa V. Smith. "Folk Remedies in Andes," 

Andes NYFQ, vii (1951), 295-98. 

Smith, Walter R. Smith. "Animals and Plants in 

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Ixvii 



Smith, Walter R. Smith. "Northwestern Oklahoma 

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Smith, Walter R. Smith. "You Can't Tell about the 

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Southern Workman Southern Workman. Hampton, Virginia, 1872- 

1939- 

Spamer Adolf Spamer, Die Deutsche Volkskiinde, 2nd 

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Steiner Roland Steiner. "Superstitions and Beliefs from 

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71- 

Storaker, Joh. Th. Storaker. Mennesket og Arbeidet i 

Mennesket den Norske Folketro. Norsk Folkeminnelag, 

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Storaker, Joh. Th. Storaker. Sygdom og Forgj0relse i 

Sygdom den Norske Folketro. Norsk Folkeminnelag, 

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Stout Earl J. Stout. Folklore from Iowa, MAFS, 

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Strecker, John K. Strecker. "Folk-Lore Relating to 

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Strecker, John K. Strecker. "Reptiles of the South and 

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Stuart Jesse Stuart. "The Yarb Doctor," Kentucky 

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Superstitions "Superstitions about Animals," Southern Work- 

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Tacoma 

Taylor 
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TFSB 

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Ghost World 

Thiselton Dyer, 
Pages 

Thiselton Dyer, 
Plants 

Thiselton Dyer, 
Shakespeare 

Thomas 
Thompson 



Thompson, 
Ireland 

Travis 



Tullis 



Jesus Taboada, "La medicina popular en el 
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Ixix 



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WF 

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W. J. Wintemberg. "Folk-Lore Collected at 

Roebuck, Grenville County, Ontario," JAFL, 

XXXI (1918), 154-57- 
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Toronto and Vicinity," JAFL, xxxi (1918), 

125-34- 



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ligionsgeschichte, viii. Munster, i. W., 1893. 

Wlislocki Heinrich von Wlislocki. Volksglauhe und re- 

Zigeuner ligioser Branch der Zigeitner. Darstellungen 

aus dem Gebiete der nichtchristlichen Reli- 

gionsgeschichte, iv. Miinster W., 1891. 

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JAFL, XLiii (1930), 325-26. 

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VIII (1930), Austin, Texas, 9-73. 

Wuttke Adolf Wuttke. Der Deutsche Abergloube der 

Gegenwart, 3rd ed. Elard Hugo Meyer. 
Berlin, 1900. 

WVF West Virginia Folklore, Fairmont, West Vir- 

ginia, 195 I ff. 

WVF I West Virginia Folklore, Vol. i, No. i (1951). 

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8-11. 

Yoffie Leah Rachel Yoffie. "Popular Beliefs and 

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Superstitions in the Cow Creek Region of 
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85. 



POPULAR BELIEFS 

AND 

SUPERSTITIONS 

FROM 

NORTH CAROLINA 



I 

BIRTH, INFANCY, CHILDHOOD 

Birth 
Where Children Come From 

1 Children are taught that babies are brought by the stork. 

Green Collection. Apparently of all North Carolina collectors only Paul 
and Elizabeth Green propounded the age-old question to their informants, 
"Where do babies come from?" Even in only the six items collected, 
however, parents interviewed showed reasonable inventive genius in put- 
ting off their young folk. Notably missing from the Brown Collection 
are references to babies' being found in the garden, including the well- 
known cabbage patch and the parsley bed. In addition to Brewster's 
references, below, see Smith i, 67, No. 4, and Taylor, p. 132, n. i, 
who lays the groundwork for broader inquiry. North Carolina: 
Brewster, Customs, p. 230 — South Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. 2 
— Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1897, (the stork brings the baby 
to the roof and the doctor finds it and brings it to mother). No. 1898 
("God made me, and I came down to the apple tree, and hung there eight 
weeks, and then the stork brought me") — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 11 — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 7 (the stork brings babies to whoever he 
thinks deserves them) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 10 — New York: 
Herzfeld, pp. 983-984 (German) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 134 (Ger- 
man) ; Rupp, p. 263, No. 47 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2386 — 
Wisconsin: Brown, Birds, p. 8 (cranes [herons] bring babies, fishing 
them out of the water) — Iowa: Stout, No. 14 (Norwegian). 

For a general treatise on the problem of where children come from, 
see Ploss-Renz i, 574-590 and Kummer's excellent treatise in HDA iv, 
1342-1959. The role of the stork is treated in col. 1358, including this 
bird's connection with fire-bringing myths and the bearing of souls to 
earth. Cf. Feilberg 11, 593; Schrijnen i, 109 f., 245; Thompson, T589.6.1. 

2 Children are told that an old mother 'coon finds babies in the 
woods and takes them to people's homes. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 230. 

3 Children are taught that babies are found in hollow stumps. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Cttstoms, p. 230 — Penn- 
sylvania: Fogel, No. 133 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2389. 

HDA IV, 1348; de Cock i, 8, No. i ; Schrijnen i, 246 f . ; McCartney, pp. 
109 f. 

4 Children are told that babies are found in hollow stumps, laid 
by a buzzard, and hatched by the sun. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 230. 

5 (l^ildren are made to believe that babies are found in sugar 
barrels. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 230. 



4 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

6 Children are told that the doctor keeps babies in his saddle- 
bags. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 230 — South 
Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. 2 (babies are brought by doctors) — Pemv- 
sylz'ania: Fogel, No. 135 (the physician fetches children from a creek or 
flowing water [German]); Brendle-Unger, p. 19 (children were led to 
believe that newly born babies had been brought by the family doctor who 
had a mysterious way of finding them "in the spring," "in the creek," or 
even "in the well" [(}erman]) ; ibid., n. (A well-known midwife, old lady 
Troxell, "di aid Troxsellsin," of Egypt, Pennsylvania, would enter the 
house to which she had been summoned with her hands under her apron 
as if she were carrying something, and in this way go to the room where 
the expectant mother lay. She sought to give the impression that she 
was bringing a child hidden under her apron. The expression, "old lady 
Troxell has brought us a baby" was frequently heard from children) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2387 (the doctor delivers children in his medicine 

kit). Feilberg i, 50, s. v. "barn" (the midwife brings the baby in her 

kit) ; HDA in, 1597 (in a midwife's apron). 

Fertility, Sterility 

7 To insure the fertility of one's wife, throw cow peas into a 
traveled road so that they will be ground into the soil. 

Anonymous. For the custom of treading beans into the ground (path, 
road) to insure a good yield, see No. 7927, below. Peas are a well- 
known symbol of fertility. See HDA 11, 878 f. In the Rhone provinces 
of France, for example, peasants roll on pea straw on Christmas Eve to 
thresh out the peas. These are then mixed with the grain seed and 
sowed to insure a fruitful harvest (ibid., p. 879). The use of peas and 
pea straw in love divinations and practices is treated in Kelly, pp. 300-301. 
Cf. Nos. 7927, 8056 flf., below. 

8 Mandrake root is a powerful charm to insure fertility. 

Green Collection. Frederick Starr reports that Chicago Jews imported 
mandrake root from Palestine and sold it to women as a means of insur- 
ing fertility. "Notes Upon the Mandrake," American Antiquarian and 

Oriental Journal, xxiii (1901), 267. For a treatment of the mandrake 

as an agent of fertility, including several excellent photographs, see 
Hovorka-Kronfeld i, 14 flf. See also HDA i, 312 flf., where the various 
uses and magical properties of the mandrake are treated, together with a 
listing of pertinent literature. Thompson, T51 1.2.1. 

9 If a maid pulls up a mandrake root, she will become pregnant. 

Anonymous. Association of folk notions about the mandrake is responsible 
for this unusual belief. As we have seen above, its fertile properties 
are generally known ; less well known, however, is the belief that the 
root grows beneath a gallows from the semen expelled by a criminal in 
rigor mortis. The pulling up of the root, however, with its attendant 
pain to the root-like creature within, and the cry of anguish, is a task 
not lightly entered into. Usually this was left to a black dog who paid 
for the wilful act with his life (Cf. HDA i, 318). 

10 Sterility in women is often treated with flesh of various 
kinds of snakes. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). To insure fertility, barren Gypsy women in Danu- 
bian countries wear next to their skin some powdered snake flesh 



superstitions: birth, childhood 5 

wrapped in a baby's bonnet or hood. At Easter or Pentecost, the touch- 
ing of a snake, accompanied by spitting on the creature three times, and 
daubing it with menstrual blood while an old charm is recited, is sufficient 
to insure fruit to the womb (Ploss-Bartels i, 814). For various beliefs 
concerning snakes as announcers of impending marriages and as deter- 
miners of the number of children and their sex, consult HDA VII, 1145. 
Connections of snakes with female complaints, sterility, abortions, and 
childbirth are treated in cols. 1166 f. Cf. No. ZT, below, for the use of a 
sloughed-off snake skin as a girdle to facilitate childbirth. 

Conception, Contraception 

11 If a child is conceived during Lent, the parents must pay 
money to the church and priest for their sin. 

Carolyn Kay Root, Durham. The prohibition against conceiving children 
during Lent is no doubt connected with tabu against marriage itself during 
this period, as expressed in the old couplet, "Marry in Lent, You'll live 
to repent." The folk notion stems, no doubt, from the prescription of 
the Church in a.d. 364 against Lenten marriages (Jones, p. 483). Far 
more prevalent, of course, is the feeling against marriages in May. This 
prohibition goes back to classical times and has left its mark on the folk 
mind (Jones, pp. 481 f¥.). For a treatment of unfavorable seasons, days, 
weather, etc., see HDA iv, 165 ff. Cf. Nos. 4765 IT., below. 

12 Negroes will eat ventricles of the heart to keep them from 
having children. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. Conception from eating a woman's heart 
(Thompson, Tsi 1.6.1.), by the law of opposites so common in folklore, 
may have a bearing on this Negro belief. 

Pregnancy, Confinement 

1 3 Each child costs a woman a tooth. 

Green collection. Pennsylvania: Phillips, p. 160, No. 10; Brendle-Unger, 
p. lOi (childbirth causes decay of teeth in woman [German]) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2400 (the mother loses a tooth for each child she 
has) ; cf. No. 2399 for a yeast treatment to prevent decay after the birth 
of a baby — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 203 (teeth also lost in abortions and 
miscarriages). Among the southern Negroes, pregnancy of the wife 
is indicated when her husband's sound teeth begin to ache (Puckett, p. 
458). 

14 An expectant mother should not have her teeth pulled. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. North Carolina: Brewster, 
Customs, p. 239. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 4 (prohibition against hav- 
ing teeth filled) — Lottisiana: Roberts, No. 3 (filling) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 2398 (filling will come loose and fall out). 

15 A woman who expects a child should for ten days before 
not comb her hair, to prevent it from turning gray. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Although this belief 
is nowhere found in the literature in this country, it is closely related to 
the notion that the mother's hair will fall out if combed before the first 
nine days, or the first month, after birth. Cf. Puckett, p. 334 (Negro) ; 

Richardson, p. 247; Fogel, No. 1879 (German). Cf. Hovorka- 

Kronfeld 11, 596. 



6 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1 6 During meals, no one should be near a woman expecting a 
child. She should have her own food and burn the remains. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Somewhat unique, 
this belief is Hkely connected with rites enjoining segregation of the 
mother for a stated period after childbirth in some remote part of the 
dwelling. The Christian community has its own purificatory rite in the 
churching of women after forty days to six weeks. For customs con- 
nected with the riesgo, or period of jeopardy after childbirth, see 
Andrade, p. 407. The treatment of "childbirth" in the SDF i, 217 f. 
contains comparative material, particularly from aboriginal cultures. Cf. 
Fielde, p. 797 (Chinese). Cf. HDA ix, 697 fT. 

17 Wine is necessary to women with a child. At Communion, 
a pregnant woman, whether a church member or not, may 
receive the Communion wine. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 6. 

18 If a woman sees a skinned squirrel before childbirth, she'll 
be confined too soon. 

Anonymous. Auguries attendant upon the meeting of animals (and 
people) are common in folklore; likewise chance meetings of this sort 
on the part of a pregnant woman. Read the article on "Angang" in 
HDA I, 409 flf., esp. 417. Bodily blemishes and deformities in the child 
stemming from unseasonable encounters with various animals by the 
mother are treated in Nos. 102 fif., below. The "skinned" squirrel is a 
ready symbol here that needs no elucidation. For meetings with squirrels, 
which are generally lucky, see Nos. 3875 flf., below, and HDA i, 425. 

Miscarriage, Abortion 

19 If a woman is pregnant, and drinks some of her own void, 
she will miscarry. 

Anonymous. Compare the custom of a woman's drinking her husband's 
urine in the expulsion of the placenta {Rio Grande: Bourke, p. 139)- 
This same custom is noted in Ruthenia to bring on labor (Hovorka- 

Kronfeld 11, 569). Cf. Thompson, T512.2, conception from drinking 

urine. As in No. 12, above, the law of opposites may figure in this 
relationship of conception and abortion. For a general treatment of 
abortion in folklore, see Ploss-Bartels i, 991-1019. 

20 To sit over a pot of stewed onions will cause a miscarriage. 

Carolyn Kay Root, Durham. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 
239 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2504. Cf. No. 28, below. 

21 Pregnancy can be arrested by a strong tea made by boiling 
cotton roots. 

Green Collection. Ozarks: Randolph, p. 194 (though the cotton roots 
are usually mixed with tansy for the best results). Tansy tea is a well- 
known abortifacient in the Ozark country {ibid., p. 193), and Hovorka 
and Kronfeld note its use in France (i, 356). Other herbs employed in 
this country are bloodroot [bloodwort] (Rousseau, Abcnakise, p. 154, 
Nos. 7 f. ; p. 167, No. 25) ; white clover tea with sweet spirits of nitre, 
while soaicing feet in mustard {Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 343) ; camo- 
mile tea {Ozarks: Randolph, pp. 193-194) ; pennyroyal {ibid., p. 194) ; 



superstitions: uirth, childhood 7 

cedar-berry tea (ibid.) ; senna tea (Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2346) ; camphor 
(Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 221 [German]); European savin 
(Pcnnsylz'a)iia: Lick-Brendle, p. 280 [German]). Cf. No. 38, below. 

22 Quinine will induce abortions. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2345 (fifteen grains of quinine 
will cause a miscarriage). See No. 30, below, where quinine is used to 
induce labor. 

23 A teaspoonful of turpentine every morning for nine morn- 
ings will produce an abortion. 

Green Collection. Puckett, p. 332 (Negro) — Ocarks: Randolph, p. 
194 (large doses of turpentine) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2347 (turpentine 
taken monthly to prevent impregnation) ; cf. No. 2505 (sitting on a jar 
of hot water containing turpentine [for easy labor]) ; Puckett, p. 332 (a 
yarn string saturated with turpentine worn around the waist for nine 
days will cause an abortion [Negro]). 

24 If a woman is pregnant, and carries a peck of salt, she will 
miscarry. 

Anonymous. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2342 (epsom salts and other ingredi- 
ents cause a miscarriage in nine days) ; cf. the holding of salt in her 
clenched fish by a woman in travail (Kentucky: Thomas, No. i) ; also, 
the drinking of saltpeter to bring on an abortion (Nova Scotia: Fauset, 
No. 342). Cf. Ploss-Bartels i, 1013 (eating of salt). 

Labor 

25 A mother must walk and walk to exhaustion to bring on 
birth of a child. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 37. Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 
568 ff., where walking and other physical ordeals are treated. 

26 To induce labor, make the patient walk around and around 
in a circle until she becomes exhausted. 

Green Collection. Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 568 fif. 

27 To bring the child, tie asafetida around the mother's neck 
and put a rabbit's foot under her head. 

Anonymous. Cf. the use of the pelt of a hare as a childbed amulet in 
the uplands of southern Germany (Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 567). Cf. No. 
no, below. 

28 To bring on labor, have the patient chew up a red onion. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Cf. Hyatt, No. 2504. Cf. No. 20, above. 
HDA III, 413 (onions to ease childbirth). 

29 Red pepper blown into the nostrils through a goose quill 
will bring on labor. 

Green Collection. Known as "quilling," this operation brings on sneezing, 
and with it the diaphragmatic contractions inducing labor. Various 
sternutatives such as snuff and pepper are used; also ginger tea (0::arks: 



8 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Randolph, p. 201) — (Tennessee: Rogers p. 37). Mexican midwives 
administer marijuana, dried, and finely pulverized, to cause sternutation 
and the expulsion of the afterbirth (Berdau, p. 283; cf. Bourke, pp. 134 
£.). In Texas, "quilling" is used to designate the practice of a pregnant 
woman's blowing into a turkey quill as hard as she can to start muscular 
contractions and help expel the baby (Woodhull, p. 58). In stubborn 
pregnancies, James Thurber notes the use of powdered tobacco in Ohio 
(Nezv Yorker, April 28, 1951, p. 27). Cf. other forms of "blowing" 

in Nos. 53-56, below. Ancient Arabian doctors prescribed the use 

of sternutatives to bring on labor (Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 562), and 
Browne in his Vulgar Errors writes, "And so is also of good signality, 
according to that of Hippocrates, that sneezing cureth the hiccough, and 
is profitable unto women in hard labor." The blowing into a reed, or 
into a bottle, to bring on labor is common in Slavic countries, particularly 
in South Slavic areas. See Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 569 fif. In Serbia, 
for example, the husband carries his wife around the room on his shoul- 
ders three times, saying, "I gave you the burden and I will also relieve you 
of it." He thereupon blows into her mouth three times, and she into his. 

30 Give quinine on the tongue with a few drops of turpentine to 
bring on labor. 

Green Collection. Cf. Nos. 22, 23, above, especially the notes to No. 23, 
where sitting over a steam bath of turpentine is indicated. 

31 To hasten the birth of a child, give a woman gunpowder 
and make her eat it. However, it should be borne in mind that 
this increases the pain, 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 37 — 
Ozarks: Randolph, p. 201. Compare the practice of drinking a mixture 
of gunpowder and sweet milk to prevent conception (Puckett, p. 331 
[Negro]) and to bring on a miscarriage (Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2337). 

32 To sit on the husband's lap, when the child is secretly con- 
ceived, will ease labor and hasten delivery. 

Carolyn Kay Root, Durham. Southern Mountains: Cf. Carter, p. 6 — 
South Carolina: Fitchett, p. 360 (if an expectant mother crosses her 
husband in bed at the first signs of delivery he will share in bearing the 
labor pains) ; cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2508. In Hovorka-Kronfeld (11, 
558) there is a sketch of an Ohio woman giving birth on her husband's 
lap. By sympathetic association, putting on her husband's hat will make 
the mother's labor pains less severe (South Carolina: Fitchett, p. 360). 
Related to this in turn is the New Mexican Spanish custom of a woman's 
drinking water in which an old man's hat has been boiled as a means 
of facilitating afterbirth (Espinosa, p. 411). For the custom of burning 
men's hats, see No. 266, below. Some of the old customs appear to be 
vestigial American forms of the couvade, for a discussion of which, see 

SDF I, 256; Ploss-Renz i, 197-211. HDA ni, 415; Hovorka-Kronfeld 

II, 561 (husband's belt tied around wife's waist, with the words "Ich 
habe den Giirtel umgelegt und werde ihn wieder losen!") Cf. p. 571 (a 
blow struck with husband's belt across the sacrum). Ploss-Bartels 11, 
191-196 (with illustrations of the ancient lap-bearing custom in Peru) ; 
ibid., p. 320 (a pregnant Russian woman stepping over the feet of her 
husband lying on the floor) ; Leather, p. 11 1 (couvade) ; Gallop, p. 85 
(man's hat placed on mother's head until child is born). The custom of 
a pregnant woman's putting on her husband's clothes, or stepping over 
them (or him), to bring on labor, is treated in Hovorka-Kronfeld (11, 
569). The practice of the wife's drinking water from her husband's 



superstitions: birth, childhood 9 

shoes is encountered from Herzegovina to Syria (ii, 571, 574). See 
notes to No. 47, below, for a further instance of the use of the husband's 
clothing in childbirth practices. Cf. No. 779, below. For more general 
considerations on the whole sympathetic connection between husbe^nd and 
wife before, during, and after childbirth, see Hand, Couvade, 213-229. 

33 The first child must be born on its father's lap. 

Green Collection. See No. 32, above, and references cited there. 

34 For travail, never allow the woman to put her hands above 
her head, and she'll not have to suffer. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. This tabu seems related to 
various prescriptions against reaching into cupboards, hanging out clothes, 
and the like, on the part of the mother, so that the unborn baby will not 
become entangled in the umbilical cord and strangle. 

35 To aid in childbirth, place the patient in a chair with a pan 
of smoking chicken feathers under the chair. 

Green Collection. Related to the use of smoking feathers in childbirth, 
for which examples are lacking, is the custom of having the patient stand 
over a bucket of hot coals upon which feathers have been put, as a means 
of expediting retarded afterbirth (Puckett, p. zSi [Negro]). In Pennsyl- 
vania, human hair cut from the crown of the head and laid on glowing 
coals, with the fumes funneled into the mouth of the patient, is supposed to 
keep away birth pangs (Brendle-Unger, p. 221 [German]). Randolph 
has noted the custom of burning corncobs on the doorstep in the Ozark 
country in cases of difficult childbirth (p. 200). A smoking with the 
"hedionilla" is undertaken to facilitate delivery in the Rio Grande country 

(Bourke, p. 125). In Transylvania, the Saxons fumigate a woman in 

childbed with a piece of smoking rabbit pelt to expedite retarded after- 
birth. A magical charm is then spoken (Ploss-Bartels 11, 249). For 
magical Gypsy practices involving the use of fire at childbirth, see 
Leland, pp. 47-48- An Arabian practice calls for fumigations with the 
hoofs of mules (Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 562). For the use of various 
substances as fumigatory agents, including such common things as bread 
and onions, see Hovorka-Kronfeld, 11, 567 ff., 571, 575. Cf. HDA in, 
413. 

36 It is bad luck for a woman in labor if one hears a dove 
mourning. 

Anonymous. 

37 If the skin shed by a snake is placed round the thigh of a 
woman in labor, she will have a speedy delivery. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. This custom was known 
to the ancient Romans (Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 561, 589), and is still cur- 
rent in the southern uplands of Germany {ibid., 11, 567). In Serbia, 
pregnant women are struck across the back with a stick that has been 
used to free a frog from a snake {ibid., 11, 571). Compare the custom 
of beating the rattles of a rattlesnake into a powder and administering 
it to the mother to hasten the birth of the baby {Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
9 — Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 105). In Pennsylvania the rattle 
is sewn into a black silk cloth and placed in the mother's hand without 
her knowing the contents, and witliout allowing her to open it (Brendle- 
Unger, pp. 219-220 [German]). Cf. No. 10, above, for a treatment of 



10 XORTII CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

snakes in conception and in other matters having to do with the bearing 
of children. 

38 Cotton root tea increases the pain in travail. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. No. 21, above. 

39 To insure easy childbirth, take tea each night and a good 
drink of the follovv^ing three months before delivery : a tablespoon 
of flaxseed, and another of slippery elm in a gallon of boiling 
water. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2503. 

40 In childbirth, ginger tea increases the pains. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Pursh, writing in 
1814, notes the use of wild ginger by Indian maidens to prevent impreg- 
nation, and Sauer, an earlier botanist, warns against its use (Pennsyl- 
vania: Lick-Brendle, p. 78 [German]). 

41 For travail, give tansy tea. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. See notes to No. 21, above, 
for the use of tansy as an abortifacient. 

42 Tansy tea increases the pain in travail. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Nos. 21, 41, above. 

43 To prevent fits in travail, apply a cold pack of saltpeter and 
ice to the head. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. See notes to No. 24, 
above, for the use of saltpeter as an abortifacient. 

44 A stone with a hole in it, hung over the head of a woman in 
labor, will assist in the birth. 

Frank C. Brown, Durham. For the possible connection of this practice 
with the wearing of stones with holes in them as a protection against 
evil spirits at the critical time of birth, as in Nos. 45 f., below, see 
Budge, pp. 326 f. 

45 Put an ax under the bed to cut the pain in two during child- 
birth. 

Green Collection. South: Duncan, p. 234, No. 6 — Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 2 — Arkansas: Randolph, p. 200 (an old granny near Sulphur 
Springs, Arkansas, told me that an ax used for this purpose must be 
razor-sharp, since a dull ax may do more harm than good) ; also p. 
305 — Soiitlnvest: Woodhull, p. 58 (hold the edge of a sharp ax against 
the patient's abdomen. This gets their minds off their trouble and eases 

their pains). Although the ax from early times has been used as a 

healing agent (HDA viii, 403 i), and is thought to be efficacious in 
stanching bleeding in childbirth, i.e., to keep the heart's blood from 
flowing away {ibid., ni, 415), the American uses likely derive from the 
more prevalent notions about iron as a protection against witchcraft. 
For a general treatise on this subject, see HDA n, 718 ff. ; cf. i, 743-748. 
Col. 746 (c) deals with delivery room beliefs and practices. Also all 
but lost sight of in American popular tradition is the protection that 



superstitions: birth, childhood II 

iron and steel afford against the possibility of changelings. Piaschewski 
treats at length the metals and implements used in the nursery through- 
out Europe to keep fairy creatures and demons from making off with 
human babes in exchange for their own brood (pp. 69-74). Cf. Hart- 
land, pp. 93-134, esp. p. 97. Cf. Nos. 48, 49, 51, 66, below. 

46 An ax under the bed during childbirth will cut off the flow 
of blood. 

Green Collection. HDA i, 746 (ax placed under the bed to "keep the 
heart's blood from flowing away"); in, 415; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 
563. Cf. Nos. 45 (notes), above, and 47, below, for other blood-stanching 
remedies. 

47 Put cold cloths to the mother's head to stop flooding. 

Green Collection. Virginia: Martin, No. 8 (for flooding after child- 
birth, all that is necessary is for the husband to take off his shirt and 
bind it around the wife's abdomen) — South: Puckett, p. 386 (take some 
"rabbit tobacco" [white plantain] leaves and steep, mixing in some corn 
meal which has been thoroughly browned. Strain the mixture and 
bathe with it [Negro]). 

48 Borrow a drawing knife, place it under the bed of a woman 
in confinement, and the pains during and after birth will be 
greatly decreased. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Cf. Virginia: Martin, No. 
6 (husband's knife should be opened and placed under the bed) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2513 (butcher knife). Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 
II, p. 140, No. 123 (scissors). Scissors are particularly effective if 
open, forming as they do the Christian cross. Cf. Piaschewski, p. 71 ; 
Ploss-Bartels 11, 464 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 200 (plowshare) — 
Oregon: Hand, No. 50 (a plowshare of the proper sharpness placed 
under a bed shortens labor pains). Here again the connection with witch- 
craft has been lost. See No. 7550, below, for the custom of putting a 
heated bull-tongue plow into the churn to make the butter come when 
the cream is bewitched. For the use of knives and other steel imple- 
ments in warding off witches, spirits, and the like, see Nos. 5671 f., 
5683 ff., 5706 f., 5741, etc., below. Puckett notes the use of alum, mixed 
with sugar, and applied on cotton directly to the vulva (p. 333). Other 
Negro practices entail the use of soot, and also of cobwebs. These, of 
course, are time-tested folk remedies for all kinds of hemorrhage. See 
Parsons, MAPS xvi (1923), 197. On the South Carolina Sea Islands, 
whence these cures are reported, dark cloths are always used for vulva 
dressing, the idea being that white makes the blood flow too much 
(ibid.) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1883 (tie red flannel around the 
leg) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2510 (poultice the woman with cow manure) 
— Ozarks: Randolph, p. 201 (burn chicken feathers under the bed). 
Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 567 f., for various other agents to stop puer- 
peral hemorrhage. 

49 If one places knives between the mattresses of a bed, a 
woman in labor on the bed will have a quick delivery. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. See No. 48, above. 

50 A charm known as "The Letter of Jesus Christ" will insure 
the safe delivery of a child, if possessed by the mother. 
Anonymous. Newfoundland: Bergen, Current, No. 835 ; Patterson, p. 
286. The finding of "Himmelsbriefe" ('Letters from Heaven,' or 'Letters 



12 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

from Jesus Christ') in America was not unexpected. The late Edwin 
M. Fogel has treated this subject in some detail in his study, "The 
Himmelsbrief," German American Annals x (1908), 286-311, and I 
have published a text of one of these curious letters recovered in 
North Carolina, as well as taking up other American and European 
beliefs relating to these sacred writings (Hand, Himmelsbrief, pp. 201- 
207). Cf. Brown Collection i, 642 f. A copy of a typical broadside print- 
ing of the letter, entitled, "A Copy of a Letter Written by Our Savior 
Jesus Christ, purporting to have originally been found eighteen miles 
from Iconium sixty-five years after the Saviour's crucifixion, and con- 
taining many prayers, charms, and other devotional writings, is reproduced 
in Leather (facing p. 112). Ancient and modern copies of German 
"Himmelsbriefe" may be consulted in Spamer 11, 3-4. For the use of 
Letters from Heaven as charms in childbed, see HDA iv, 26 f. ; 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 569 f. Similar Jewish charms exist, and Floss- 
Bartels contains a reproduction of one in use against Lilith in northern 
Germany during the nineteenth century (11, 460) and also a handwritten 
Russian one (11, 459). Yoffie reports the use of these charms among 
St. Louis Jews in 1925 (pp. 379, 385, 389). Mohammedans likewise 
have a charm used in childbed. It is the 84th chapter of the Koran, 
"The Rending in Sunder" (Hovorka-Kronfeld, 11, 574). In this general 
connection, mention should be made of the "Gewisse und wahrhafte 
Lange unseres lieben Herrn Jesu Christi," a narrow strip of paper about 
six feet long, printed on one side with prayers, beatitudes, and the like, 
and formerly adorned with occult symbols of all kinds. The use of these 
amulets in childbirth is treated in Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 562-566. De- 
vout French women wear a two-meter long "Mass de Giirtels Mariens" 
(a measure of the belt, or girdle, of Mary, also the girdle of St. Margaret 
(Ploss-Renz i, 31; HDA v, 1635). Spamer reproduces such a full- 
length (six feet) "Lange und Dicke" (length and breadth) strip of the 
Virgin Mary, purporting to be a copy of a silken ribbon found in a 
Spanish monastery, brought thither by pilgrims from the Virgin's shrine 
at Loreto. Besides containing beatitudes on the Virgin, from head to 
foot, as the whole notion of "measure" implies, the "measure" is 
credited with protecting its wearer in a variety of untoward situations. 
The second "length" is devoted to help for women in travail. Hovorka 
and Kronfeld describe the faith placed in prayer books in childbed, and 
the wearing of saints' pictures on the body of the expectant mother (11, 
562, 566). Cf. Fogel, No. 1947; Skattegraveren iii, 74 ff. 

51 A knife is placed under the mattress to stop childbirth pain. 
Green Collection. See Nos. 48 f., above. 

52 It is bad luck for a woman in labor if one sweeps the steps 
after sundown. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 39 (both the mother and child would 
shortly die). Cf. Ozarks: Randolph, p. 201. 

Ajterbirth 

53 To deliver the placenta, have the patient blow into her fist. 

Green Collection, Nezv Mexico: Espinosa, p. 411 (Spanish). In Upper 
Austria and Salzburg the midwife repeats a charm, invoking God, the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. After saying Amen, the parturient 
woman bites into a raw onion three times, must then be lifted up straight 
three times, while pulling in her thumbs and blowing once into each fist 



superstitions: birth, childhood 13 

(Ploss-Bartels 11, 249). Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 591. Cf. No. 29, 
above. 

54 Women are directed to double up both hands and blow 
through them as an aid in expelling the placenta. 

Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill. Reported as common throughout North 
Carolina, and "not without some value." Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 
589 (coughing). Cf. No. 29 above. 

55 Blow into a bottle to bring the afterbirth. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: See Transactions of the Medical 
Society of North Carolina, 58th Annual Meeting (1911), 214 — South 
Carolina: Puckett, p. 333 (read "blow" instead of "flow"). Cf. Hovorka- 
Kronfeld II, 591 (Bosnia) — California: Bushnell, No. 7 (a woman starts 
the delivery of a child by blowing into a bottle [Mexican]). Cf. practice 
of "quilling" in Texas, as treated in No. 29, above. 

56 To deliver the placenta, have the patient sniffle snuff into 
her nostrils through a quill. 

Green Collection. See No. 29, above, for a discussion of the same 
practice of "quilling" as it applies to delivery. Hippocrates recom- 
mended sneezing as an abortive (HDA vi, 1075). Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 
II, 569; Ploss-Bartels 11, 246 (regurgitation as well as sneezing recom- 
mended). Cf. also Nos. 53-55. above. 

57 To prevent childbed fever, burn the afterbirth. 

Green Collection. Puckett, p. 333 (the afterbirth must be burned — 
otherwise the woman is liable to bleed to death [Negro]) — Osarks: 
Randolph, p. 202. HDA vi, 762. For fumigation to dispel after- 
pains among Transylvania Gypsy women, see Leland, p. 49. 

58 Sprinkle the afterbirth with salt before disposing of it. 

Green Collection. A fear that evil powers may obtain the afterbirth, and 
thus in some way gain power over the newborn child, probably under- 
lies this practice. In the United States the fear is limited apparently 
only to human enemies. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 14 — Ozarks: 
Randolph, p. 203 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2518. For the various uses 
of salt as a protective agent, see HDA vii, 900-906, especially col. 902, 
where the safeguarding of children is treated. In addition to burning, 
as treated in No. 57, above, disposal in running water, and by burial, 
are the usual means in American folk practice, and accord with European 
customs. Cf. HDA vi, 762 (a, c). Various means of disposing of the 
afterbirth are taken up in Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 589-593; Ploss-Bartels 
II, 273-275. 

59 If the afterbirth is gotten hold of by a dog, the woman v\rill 
always have a weak back. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2517 (always bury the after- 
birth deep, so the dogs can't dig it up ; for if they do, it will bring the 
mother very bad luck) — Rio Grande: Bourke, p. 139 (the placenta must 
not be burned, but buried where animals cannot invade, because it would 
be a great desecration to have animals uproot and perhaps eat what had 

been part of a body that was to be baptized). HDA vi, 726 (dogs and 

cats). 



14 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

60 Do not wash the baby until the afterbirth has come. 

Green Collection. Ozarks: Randolph, p. 204 (delayed bathing [three 
days] so as not to wash away a child's luck and financial fortune). Cf. 
Lean 11, 114. For general customs connected with the bathing and wash- 
ing of newborn infants, see Ploss-Renz i, 215-226; Radford, pp. 26 flF., 
70, 250. 

Ajter pains, Childbed Ailments, Tabus 

61 Dr. J. B. Macon, Warrenton, says some midwives explain 
the patient's slowness in recovering by saying that the moon is 
not right, and that the baby came at the wrong time of the moon. 

Green Collection. Cf. the Nova Scotian belief that if a baby does not 
come on the date expected, it will not come until the full of the moon 
(Creighton, p. 16, No. 19). For further instances of lunar influences in 
childbirth, see Espinosa, p. 412 (New Mexico [Spanish]) and Randolph, 

p. 204 (Ozarks). See Black for a treatment of the influence of the 

sun and moon in childbirth {Folk-Medicine, pp. 124, 128, 132) ; HDA vi, 
695 f . ; Schrijnen i, 248. 

62 Dr. Macon says that some midwives explain the patient's 
slowness in recovering by saying it is inherited. "She took bads 
after her ma, an' she had the worst time in the world." 

Green Collection. The aid of various specialists in southern speech was 
sought without positive results. A useful suggestion came from W. L. 
McAtee, who reads "bads" as an abbreviation for "bad times," or "bad 
times in childbirth." 

63 For afterpains, give the patient one teaspoonful of blood 

from the placenta cord in wine. 

Green Collection. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 220 (wine without 

placental blood [German] ) . Various medicinal uses of the placenta are 

given in HDA, the closest one to the present matter having to do with 
the mother's blowing through a placenta pierced with a goose quill to 
cure afterpains (vi, 765). "Quilling" practices in connection with child- 
birth are treated in Nos. 29 and 56, above. 

64 To prevent afterpains, put a thorn bush the length of the 
patient's bed. 

Green Collection. "Compare the use of the buckthorn by the Romans to 
keep off evil spirits at birth." — P. G. 

65 For afterpains, make a cross mark with the patient's old 

shoes. 

Green Collection. As is well known, shoes are important fertility 
symbols, and it is not surprising that use is made of them also in 
Christian connections. In Hovorka-Kronfcld (11, 590), mention is made 
of an elaborate ritual among the Transylvanian Saxons in which a cross 
is cut in the back of the mother with a knife, the knife plunged into the 
earth with an accompanying Christian cliarm — all this to exorcise the 
worms in the womb that withhold the afterbirth. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 15 

66 Some cutting instrument placed under the bed cuts out 
afterpains. Usually an ax, sometimes a knife, or scissors, are 
used. 

Dr. E. V. Howell, Durham, and two other informants from Buncombe 
and Durham counties. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2512 (ax) ; 2511 (razor). 
Cf. Nos. 45, 48, above. 

67 To prevent puerperal fever, do not change the bed before 
the third day. In case this mistake is made and a person should 
have the fever, she may be cured by binding fat meat covered 
with black pepper around her neck and blowing sulphur through 
her throat. 

Green Collection. Compare the two items below for similar notions. 
South: Richardson, p. 247 (you must not turn over the quilts or pillows 
in the bed where a child was born, for a whole month, or the mother will 
take a cold from which she will never recover [Negro]) — Osarks: 
Randolph, p. 204 (in childbed the bedding should not be changed for 

nine days after the child is born). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 597; Harland- 

Wilkinson, p. 261. 

68 Eating honey after childbirth will prove fatal to the mother. 

Green Collection. Compare food tabus in pregnancy encountered in 
Illinois : hot biscuits, cabbage, sweet potatoes — all supposed to cause 

death to the mother (Hyatt, Nos. 2520 fT.). HDA viii, 206 (3 f.), and 

the leading authorities cited there. 

69 After childbirth, it will be fatal for the mother to eat fish. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2522 — New York: Herzfeld, p. 
984 (meat forbidden). 

70 Do not cut the hair of a new mother under nine days. 
Green Collection. 

71 The first time the mother carries water, it must be only a 
spoonful or the baby will spit a great deal. 

Green Collection. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1927 (a baby will 
slobber as much water as the water that a mother carries first after she 
rises) — Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 87 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
2796 (when a mother first arises from confinement, let her carry water 
in a thimble and the child will not slobber). Cf. Nos. 338 f., below. 

Cf. HDA vn, 1420 (a pregnant mother's drinking cold water makes 

the child slobber). 

y2 A mother of a newborn babe must not cross water till the 
baby is a month old. To do so will bring bad luck. 

Green Collection. Ozarks: Randolph, p. 195 (death for an expectant 
mother to cross a running stream) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2722 (if a 
child in its first year is taken across a river on a boat, it will die) — 
California: Dresslar, p. 55 (if one crosses a bridge and looks down at 
his own reflection in the water, his first child will die). Compare the 
prohibition against a funeral procession's crossing a river or bridge en 
route to the cemetery, Nos. 5457 f., below. 



l6 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

73 It is bad luck to send a mother's or baby's clothes across 
water to be washed. 

Green Collection. In this item, and in No. 72, above, one should not 
fail to note the possible connections with witchcraft. Well known, for 
example, is the notion that witches cannot cross running water, and that 
they often haunt waterways and bridges. To keep witches from getting 
hold of the afterbirth, and hence gaining power over the child, the after- 
birth is disposed of in running water (HDA iii, 1907). Cf. Hovorka- 
Kronfeld 11, 589 f. 

Nursing, Weaning 

74 Often a mother chews food and puts it into the child's 
mouth. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 227 — Osarks: 
Randolph, p. 210. HDA iv, 1318. 

75 Part of the food the mother eats should be chewed by the 
midwife and fed to the child. This prevents the mother's food 
from disagreeing with the child through the milk. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 74, above. 

76 If an infant nurses while its mother is pregnant, it should 
be given a dose of wine with the powder of a roasted eggshell. 
It makes the bad milk come out. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, p. 426. 

yy A paste of ground charcoal mixed with homemade yeast is 
used by women to rub on their breasts while nursing. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Hovorka and Kronfeld call attention to the anoint- 
ing of sore breasts in Samland with a salve made of the charcoal of a 
red nut tree and lard (n, 607). Cf. Hyatt, Nos. 2632 ff., for various 
remedies for sore breasts, 

78 To dry up milk in a woman's breast after her baby dies, you 
wet a piece of cotton with camphor and put it in the coffin with 
the baby ; it will keep drawing till it draws all the milk out. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. For the use of camphor in 
preventing lactation and in drying up the breasts in weaning, see Puckett, 
P- 337 (Negro) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2631, 2664. 

79 A mother should not eat the chicken's gizzard. It is the 
worst thing she could eat. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham. 

80 In weaning a baby, use a sugar teat — a small white cloth 
folded in the shape of a nipple and containing a mixture of sugar 
and butter. 

Green Collection. Brewster, Customs, p. 227. For descriptions of the 
so-called "sugar-tit," see Rogers, p. 35 (Tennessee) and Brendle-Unger, 



superstitions: birth, childhood 17 



p. 20 (Pennsylvania [German]). Cf. No. 273, below, for nutritive and 
"medical" properties. 

81 A baby should be weaned when the sign is going down the 
legs through the feet, never when it is in the head or the heart. 

Green Collection. Brewster, Customs, p. 227. West Virginia: Mockler, 
p. 312, No. 20. For a good treatment of weaning, and one generally 
in accord with the principles contained in the present item, see Randolph, 
p. 210 (Ozarks). — Pennsyh'ania: Fogel, Nos. 125 (wean in Pisces 
[feetj) ; I2() (if in Leo [heart], the child will roar like a lion [German]) 
— Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 29 (sign of the feet) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, Nos. 2654 (the child will cry all the time if weaned in Leo) ; 
No. 2652 (no trouble with child if it is weaned as sign leaves the 
heart) ; No. 2655 (when the sign is below the sex organ) ; No. 2O53 (in 
the sign of the legs) ; No. 2648 (in the sign of the fish [feet]) ; also No. 
2647 — Iowa: Stout, No. 318 (should not be weaned when the sign is 
in the head). See Hyatt, No. 2645 for a discussion of ailments in 
different parts of the child's body homeopathically connected with weaning 
in the various signs. Weaning according to the phases of the moon is 
also followed: Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 166; idem.. Superstitions, 

No. 167 — Illinois: Allison, No. 499; Hyatt, Nos. 2656 f. HDA 11, 

859 f. ; Ploss-Renz i, 480-511, esp. 508 ff. ; Radford, p. 70. 

82 While weaning a baby, put its nightgown on backwards. 

Green Collection. Brewster, Customs, p. 228. The possible connection 
between this means of "crossing the baby up," and the practice of a 
mother's closing up the opening m her blouse used to nurse the child, or 
even turning her chemise around to put the child off, is a good example 
of the principle of transference in folKlore. See HDA 11, 861. 

Prenatal Influences 

83 When a mother is with child and craves something greatly, 
the child will be fond of the same thing. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. See the treatment of "Birthmarks" 

and "Deformities," below, and also Nos. 168, 195 fif., below. HDA 

VII, 1417 (fulfilment of mother's wishes in general, not merely food, as a 
means of satisfying the child also). 

84 If the mother craves certain food, the child will also crave 
the food. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfaflftown, Forsyth county. South Carolina: Bryant i, 
p. 284, No. 16 (if a pregnant woman craves a particular kind of food, 
she must have it ; otherwise, when the baby is born it will be marked 
with it) — Tennessee: Rogers, p. 52 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 5 — 
Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 346 — Illinois: Allison, No. 431 — Ozarks: 
Randolph, Folk-Beliefs, p. 83; Randolph, p. 196 — New Mexico: Espi- 

nosa, p. 418, No. 60 (Spanish). For a treatment of a pregnant 

woman's craving for food in general, and for food out of season, see 
HDA vii, 1417. Interesting in this connection is the custom of allowing 
a woman to steal fruit from orchards with impunity while pregnant 
(ibid., col. 1409). Cf. Lean 11, no; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 540 f . ; PIoss- 
Bartels i, 948-951. 



16 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Birthmarks 

85 A married woman confided that her son bore a birthmark in 
the shape of a pickle on one hip as a result of her eating too 
many pickles during her pregnancy. 

George E. Hoffman (Arkansas). For an excellent treatise on "mark- 
ing," see Wheaton P. Webb, "Birthmarked Destiny," NYFQ viii (1952), 
85-91 ; and for numerous and detailed examples ranging over the whole 
field, see Hyatt, Nos. 241 8-2501. References to the prenatal factor in 
birthmarking, are contained in Brendle-Unger, p. 63 (Pennsylvania 
[German]) — Oregon: Hand, No. 45. Cf. notes to No. 115, below, 
for references to lunar influences causing birtbiiarks and physical de- 
formities ; also mental ailments. An important holding in the Brown 
Collection on the subject of birthmarks is an article by Albert Edward 
Wiggam, "Can a Mother Birthmark Her Child?," which appeared as the 
main feature in the Sunday Supplement of the Charlotte Sunday Observer, 
March 22, 1936. 

86 If a pregnant woman develops a craving for some fruit, 
drink, etc., and that desire is not satisfied, the child will be 
marked. Often this mark resembles the shape of the desired 
object. Examples follow : 

Lucille Massey, Durham. HDA vi, 703 f. An interesting German twist 
occurs in the belief that unless the mother's craving for a specific kind 
of food is satisfied, the child will never be able to eat it (Hovorka- 
Kronfeld 11, 540 f.). 

87 A child was marked with a red apple on its forehead. In 
another instance the red apple was near the eye, and was made 
to disappear by the mother's licking it nine mornings in succes- 
sion. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, p. 340 — Midwest: Odell, p. 221, Nos. 
I, 12 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2499 (touch a birthmark with your tongue 
for nine mornings and it will fade away) — Southwest: Woodhull, p. 
50. Prominent among other methods of removing birthmarks in the 
United States is to rub the birthmark with the object it most closely 
resembles (Puckett, p. 341), or to feed the baby a few drops of whatever 
caused the mark (Roberts, No. 9 [Louisiana]). The rubbing of the 
birthmark with afterbirth, or with placental blood, the common European 
prescription (HDA vi, 704, 765; Ploss-Bartels 11, 274; Hovorka-Kron- 
feld, II, 589 f., where it is reported that people hang around hospitals 
trying to secure such blood) has been noted for Illinois (Hyatt, Nos. 
2490 f.) and Indiana (Brewster, Cures, p. 34, No. i). Rubbing the birth- 
mark with a dead man's hand is known as a cure from Nova Scotia 
to California, but references will be limited only to items opening up 
further bibliography on the subject: Webb, p. 88; Creighton, p. 86, No. 
6; Brewster, Cures, p. 34, No. 2. Cf. HDA vi, 704. Feilberg i, 228, 
S.V., "d0d" ; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 724. Thompson, E542.2. 

88 An expectant mother desired cherries and her child had a 
bunch of ripe cherries on his cheek. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant i, 284, No. 16 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 2496 ("Years ago I had a niece that had a big cherry on the 
side of her face. It was a birthmark. And her mother took her to a 
corpse and let that child rub that birthmark three times over the dead and 



superstitions: birth, childhood 19 

it went away") ; No. 2434 ("A woman was pregnant and she went out in 
the yard. And she was always reaching for cherries. They were so 
high on the tree she could not get them often. So when her boy came 
he had a small cherry tree on the back of his neck. In the winter that 
tree would be dark brown — in the springtime and in cherry time, red") 
— Ocarks: Randolph, p. 196. HDA vii, 1417. 

89 Grape marks on a child's face come from the mother's pre- 
natal wish. 

Anonymous. 

90 There was a woman who wanted black molasses when she 
was pregnant. She went to a neighbor's and saw some molasses, 
but did not eat any. She took her bonnet and wiped her face. 
When the child was born, its face was black, like molasses. 

Anonymous. 

91 One child had a Puerto Rico potato on its face, a blemish 
which was caused by its mother's desire for these potatoes. 

Anonymous. Illinois: Cf. Hyatt, No. 2471 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 196 
(sweet potatoes). 

92 A Negro woman wanted snow before her baby was born — 
and the baby turned out to be as white as snow. 

Anonymous. 

93 If a woman has an intense longing for something like straw- 
berries, whatever place on her body that she touches at the time 
will so affect the unborn child that it will have a strawberry on 
its body at the same place she touched her body. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South Carolina: 
Bryant i, 284, No. 16 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 3 — Tennessee: Rogers, 
p. 53 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 196 — Nova Scotia: Creighton, p. 16, No. 
18 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, p. 16 — Nctu York: Cutting, 
Lore, p. 41 — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2481 ff., esp. 2484 (just before straw- 
berries ripen, the birthmark will turn redder and begin to itch). 

94 A woman wanting strawberry pop while pregnant, but being 
denied it, bore a child marked with strawberries on its breast. 

Anonymous. 

95 If the mother should want turnip greens, and not get them, 
the child's face will be marked with red splotches. 

Green Collection. 

96 A child was marked with a bottle of whiskey on his leg be- 
cause of the craving of his mother during pregnancy. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 53 (a girl had a resemblance 
to a beer bottle upon her leg caused from the markings of a beer-drink- 
ing mother). 



20 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

97 Prenatal fears cause birthmarks on children. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Tetinessee: Rogers, p. 52 
(some believed that markings would resemble in appearance the objects 
responsible for the mother's fear) — Missouri: McKinney, p. 108 — 
Nebraska: Erickson, p. 151, No. 16. For nervousness transmitted to the 
child, cf. No. 197, below. HDA vi, 703; Schrijnen i, 247. 

98 Great fright to the pregnant woman will cause the child to 
be marked. Wherever the woman first touches herself after the 
fright, the mark will appear on the child at that same place. 

Lucille Massey, Durham, and Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. — Ten- 
nessee: Rogers, p. 52 (touching body in fright) — New York: Cutting, 
Lore, p. 41 (touching body) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1880 (Ger- 
man) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2422 (crossing oneself and invoking the 

Trinity after being frightened will prevent marking of the child). 

HDA VI, 703; VII, 1423. 

99 If a mother is frightened, and slaps her hand on the face, 
the child's face will have a scar upon it. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. Cf. "touching body" in No. 
98, above. 

100 A pregnant woman would not lance a boil on another for 
fear of marking her child. 

Green Collection. 

1 01 One baby had as fine a growth of hair across his waist 
(back) as one ever saw. His mother accounted for this by 
having seen one man stab another with a knife just a few days 
prior to the birth of the child. 

Green Collection. 

102 For a pregnant woman to look on dead animals when the 
embryo is three months old will cause the child to be marked 
with some resemblance or feature of the animal seen. 

Lucille Massey, Durham. For animal influences in the marking of a 
child, see HDA vii, 1422. 

103 Children are marked as a result of seeing animals die. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

104 There was a pregnant woman who became frightened by a 
bear's skin, and when her baby was born, it had a place of skin 
like a bear's skin on its leg. 

Anonymous. 

105 If a black cat passes a pregnant woman, the baby will have 
moles on it. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2433 (transference of fear of cats 
to child; no mole or other birthmark) — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 198 



superstitions: birth, childhood 21 

(child "marked for a cat" as a result of the mother's having had an 
unexpected encounter with a trapped wildcat). 

1 06 A woman wanted to buy a cow from someone, but her hus- 
band would not buy it for her. When the baby was born, it had 
black hair and skin on one arm. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 54 (child had eyes resembling those 
of a cow, because before the child was born, the mother ran her hand 
down the throat of the family cow, which had become choked on a 
cob lodged in her throat) ; ibid., p. 53 (child born with the same weakness 
as a calf at whose birth the pregnant mother had participated) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2436 (girl's face bore image of a bull that frightened 
the mother ; in another version of the misfortune, the child is supposed to 
have been born with a cow's head simply because the pregnant mother 
sat by the window all day long watching the cow. In No. 2437 is treated 
the case of a child with an ankle covered with black skin and black 
hair ; a black cow had chased the mother, the woman's stocking had 
come down, and she had stopped to pull it up again) — Arkansas: 
Randolph, pp. 198 f. (a woman was frightened by cattle during her 
pregnancy, and the child had a strange cowlike face, "with two small 
growths protruding from the head like horns." Not only that, but the 
creature "emitted low, rumbling sounds like the bellowing of a bull!") 
Note the explanation in Nebraska of the "cow lick," namely, a wave in 
the hair when the cow licked your mother before you were born (Erick- 
son, p. 150, No. i). 

107 Putting a hand on a dog will cause the child to be marked. 
Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, p. 332 (a pregnant 
woman hit a dog on the foot — her son had one hand shaped like a dog's 
paw [Negro]) ; also a second item involving fright in seeing her pet dog 
bite someone — Tennessee: cf. Rogers, p. 54. 

108 A child was born with a birthmark on its leg in the shape 
of a police dog's head. The mother blames it on the fact that a 
police dog jumped on her and frightened her during pregnancy. 

Dorothy M. Brown. 

109 A lady was frightened, while walking throvigh a pasture 
one day, at seeing one of their hogs dead, and the buzzards had 
eaten a part of its mouth and one ear. When her child was 
born its mouth was one-sided, and she was minus one ear. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2455 
(child born with a hog face) ; ibid., No. 2454 (pig toes). 

110 If a pregnant woman sees a rabbit, the child will have a 
harelip. 

Lucille Massey, Durham. South Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. 11 — 
Quebec: Marie-Ursule, p. 165, No. 134 (French) — Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 336 (another was frightened by a rabbit, upon which the child was 
born with a hare-lip) ; Wintemberg, Grey, No. iii (If a hare crosses the 
path of an expectant woman, the child will have a hare-lip. This once 
happened when a woman was in the woods with another Irish woman. 
Her companion became quite excited, and exclaimed, "Split your shift !" 
which was supposed to prevent the threatened misfortune.) HDA vii. 



22 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1419; Feilberg iv, 201, s.v. "hareskar" ; Schrijnen i, 247; Thompson, 
A2342.1. 

111 A lady once listened to an address made by a very ugly 
man. The mouth of the man was repulsive to her ; when her 
child was born it was harelipped. She credited it to the ugly 
mouth of that speaker. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. Cf. No. no, above. 

112 If a pregnant woman looks at any dreadful thing, or dread- 
ful person, her child will be marked with it. A child whose 
mother killed a snake a few days before the child was born re- 
sembled and acted like a snake. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. In the following, 
reference is made to resemblances to the person or object which frightened 
the pregnant mother. South: Duncan, p. 234, No. 2 — South Carolina: 
Bryant i, 283, Nos. 12, 14 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. i — Florida: 
Hauptmann, p. 25, No. 2 (Spanish) — Illinois: Allison, No. 430 — 
lozva: Stout, No. 10. Cf. Nos. 97 f., above, and 113 f., below. For 

nervousness transmitted to the child, see No. 197, below. Leather, 

p. 112. 

113 A lady became frightened at a black snake, and when her 
child came, he had the image of a black snake which ran up and 
down his backbone. The head of the snake could be seen on the 
back of his head. This man became a minister, and his move- 
ments in the pulpit were just like the movements of a snake. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2476; 
three other examples, Nos. 2475 ff. — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 2 (if a 
pregnant woman is frightened by a snake the child will constantly lick 
out its tongue like a snake) — Tennessee: Rogers, p. 52 — Ocarks: 
Randolph, p. 197 (another woman in my neighborhood saw two large 
snakes fighting or copulating, and when her babe was born some months 
later it had two writhing serpents in place of a head, according to local 
testimony). 

Deformities 

114 A pregnant woman should not look at a corpse, lest the 

child suffer a deformity. 

Lucille Massey, Durham. South Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. 10. The 
mother's seeing a corpse may even result in the stillbirth of the child 
(Ocarks: Randolph, p. 197). Attendance at a funeral by a woman in 
a family way will only court trouble (Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2395), or even 
death to the child (Nezv York: Herzfeld, p. 984). If a woman must 
attend a funeral she should take care not to look directly at the defunct 

(Osarks: Randolph, p. 198). Cf. Nos. 170, 198, below. HDA vil, 

1419 (a variety of misfortunes will overtake the child, including death, 
when the mother sees a corpse) ; ibid., col. 1413 (funeral) ; ibid., col. 
1418 (stepping over grave). 

115 A mother's shock from seeing a cripple will leave its mark 
on the unborn child. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: Rogers, pp. 52-53 (including mention of a 
reelfooted child which resulted from the pregnant mother's having 



superstitions: hirth, childhood 23 

observed a similarly deformed child at play) — Nczv York: Herzfeld, p. 
984 (fright of mother at husband's injuries produced the same flaw in the 
child) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 15. Deformities arising out 
of the mother's seeing an eclipse of the moon (or sun) are treated for 
New Mexico by Moya (p. 74 [Spanish]) and Espinosa (p. 412 [Span- 
ish]). Cf. Hauptmann, p. 25, No. 4 (birthmarks induced by mother's 
seeing eclipse of the moon [Florida]) ; Andrade, p. 406 {Dominican Re- 
public). Lunar influences on the mother in America, as elsewhere, 

tend to affect the unborn child mentally rather than physically. HDA 

V, 636. Children of May marriages are likely to be deformed (Napier, 
p. 43). 

116 A pregnant woman should not comment on any deformity, 
lest the child suffer the same deformity. 

Lucille Massey, Durham. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2438 (even the mother's 
sympathetic comment about a one-armed man resulted in a one-armed 
child). 

117 If you mock a person that is deformed, you or your de- 
scendant will be deformed like the person you mocked. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, p. 343 (Negro) — Maryland: Whit- 
ney-Bullock, No. 1065 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 16 (Negro) — Ontario: 
Wintemberg, Waterloo, p. 21 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 15 
(German), p. 21 (mentally defective child for mother's jeering at 
another's mental affliction) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2430 (child born 
with horns because mother berated Bible salesman, saying she would 
rather have the devil in the house than the Bible) — Ozarks: Randolph, 

p. 298 (curse pronounced by mother of victim). HDA v, 636 (fear of 

magic power of cripples compels friendly reception). The magic power 
of cripples in gambling and their employment as mascots is also noted in 
this connection. 

118 There is an old belief in Davidson county concerning a 
young man who was born with only a stub of a left arm. The 
folk believe that it is due to the fact that before the child's birth 
the mother became infuriated at an older son of hers because he 
insisted upon marrying a crippled girl. In fact, she kept him 
from marrying her. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. Cf. No. 116, above. 

119 Years ago, a refined lady expecting to become a mother was 
visited by a gossiping friend. This lady told about a poor girl 
two miles away who had gone astray and would soon be a 
mother. The refined lady spoke up and said, *T hope the child 
will have six toes on each foot and webbed together, so every- 
body will know whose child it is." A few months later the re- 
fined lady gave birth to a girl baby, with its toes just like those 
she wished on the poor girl. The poor girl's baby was a fine 
boy. So the wish came home. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

120 If a mother makes light of an afflicted person during preg- 
nancy her child will be afflicted. 

Anonymous. HDA iv, 1319. Cf. No. 117, above. 



24 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Birthday 

121 The day of the week which was your birthday is a lucky 
day for you. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2533. Cf. the South Carolina 
belief that the day on which a child is born affects its whole life (Bryant 

I, 283, No. 5). The same notion prevails in Iowa (Stout, No. 4). 

HDA III, 407 ff. ; Addy, p. 119. 

122 Born on Monday, fair of face ; 
Born on Tuesday, full of grace ; 
Born on Wednesday, merry and glad ; 
Born on Thursday, sober and sad ; 
Born on Friday, loving and giving ; 
Born on Saturday, work hard for a living ; 
Born on Sunday, shall never know want. 

Professor J. C. Wright, Boone, Watauga county. Nova Scotia: Fauset, 
No. 367 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. no — New England: 
Johnson, What They Say, pp. 51 f. 

123 Monday's child is fair of face ; 
Tuesday's child is full of grace ; 
Wednesday's child is merry and glad ; 
Thursday's child is sorry and sad ; 
Friday's child is loving and giving ; 
Saturday's child works hard for a living ; 
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day. 
Is blithe and bonny, good, and gay. 

Green Collection, and J. Frederick Doering, Durham. North Carolina: 
Brewster, Customs, p. 227 — South Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. 5 — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2127 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2700 

— Tennessee: Rogers, Family, p. 5 (Monday's bairn) — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 1060 — New England: Johnson, What They Say, p. 51 — 
New York: Bergen, Ctirrent, Nos. i, 2 — Pennsylvania: Phillips, p. 
159, No. 5 — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2534 ff. (No. 2535: Monday's bairn) 

— Iowa: Stout, No. 4 (Norwegian, as well as English and Scotch) — 
Osarks: Randolph, p. 206 — Nebraska: Cannell, p. 48, No. 29; Nebraska 

Proverbs i, 3 — California: Dresslar, p. 72. Radford, p. 37; Addy, p. 

119; Udal, p. 178. 

124 Monday's child is fair of face; 
Tuesday's child is full of grace ; 
Wednesday's child is full of woe ; 
Thursday's child has far to go ; 
Friday's child is loving and giving ; 
Saturday's child works hard for its living ; 
And a child that's born on the Sabbath day, 
Is fair and wise, and good and gay. 

Ruth Morgan and Macie Morgan, Stanly county. 



superstitions: birth, chii. uhood 25 

125 A person born on Friday is unlucky. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county, and two other informants from Wake 
and Madison counties. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2186 — California: Dresslar, 
p. 74. Cf. the folk belief in the Ozarks that it is very bad luck to be born 
on Friday the 13th, and that good luck will only occur after the death 
of the last person who knew the true date of birth (Randolph, p. 206). 
The bad luck may be effaced by falsifying the record (ibid.) Being born 
on Friday is considered lucky in Maryland (Whitney-Bullock, No. 2185) 

and also in Illinois (Hyatt, No. 2660). Radford, p. 126; HDA v, 

1734 (in southern Italy, children born on a Friday are safe from the 
evil eye). 

126 Friday's child is godly given. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 
p. 227. 

127 Sunday's child never shall want. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2534. Cf. No. 128. 
below. 

128 If a child is born on Sunday, he w^ill always have good 

fortune. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. General: Knortz, pp. 20, 113 — North 
Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 227 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
213s — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2714 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, 
No. 109; Doering-Doering i, 61 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2542 — Cali- 
fornia: Dresslar, p. 71. HDA iii, 409. 

129 A child born on Sunday is handsome and gay. 

F. B. Merritt. American popular beliefs associated with handsome 
children are too numerous to cite here. Mention is made only of circum- 
stances under which beautiful children are begotten: Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, Nos. 1888 f., 1891, 1899, 1903 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, 2327. 
Cf. Nos. 163 f., below. 

130 A person born on the thirteenth day of the month will 
surely have bad luck. 

Eleanor Chunn Simpson, East Durham. South: Puckett, p. 405 (Negro) 
— Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2112 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 
18 (German). Thirteen, however, is the lucky number of persons born 
on that day (Kentucky : Thomas, No. 3137 — California: Dresslar, p. 
82). Radford, p. 237. 

Number of Children 

131 The number of crosses in your hand indicates the number 
of children you will have. 

Merle Smith, Stanly county. Cf. Hyatt, No. 2323 (count the veins 
branching out from the main vein in your wrist [Illinois] ) . Cf. Nos. 
138 f., below. 

132 Have someone name your apple for you before you eat it, 

and the number of seeds it has in it represents the number of 

children you will have. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. No. 133, below. For a 
lengthy discussion of the apple as a fertility symbol, and its use in mat- 



26 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

ters pertaining to love, see HDA i, 511 ff. Cf. Foster, p. 27; Leland, 
pp. loi f., 141. 

133 If there are more than thirteen seeds in an apple used to 
divine one's future in matters of love and marriage, there will be 
that many children. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 112 f. Cf. 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2319 — Iowa: Stout, No. 137 (Norwegian). 

134 Pick and name the petals of a daisy, lay them on the back 
of the hand, and blow or jerk the hand. The number of petals 
(seeds) remaining indicates the number of children to be ex- 
pected. 

Green Collection. The use of daisies in love divinations is well known 
(Friend, pp. 455 f.) ; perhaps the connection with a species of this flower 
which is known in France as "la belle Marguerite," and St. Margaret, 
patroness of women in travail, is sufficient to explain the symbolism of 
fertility (ibid., pp. 161 f.). Cf. HDA v, 1635. 

135 To find out how many children you will have, take the 
center of a daisy, and force the little yellow particles into the 
palm of your hand. Blow these little particles three times, and 
each one left in your hand will stand for a child. 

Caroline Biggers, Monroe, Union county. Cf. Marie-Ursule, p. 165, No. 
127 {Quebec [French]). 

136 If you blow the down of a dandelion, you can find out how 
many children you will have, for every seed left on the dandelion 
stem stands for a child. 

Caroline Biggers, Monroe, Union county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 302 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2320. 

137 Get a dandelion which has seeded, and blow upon it three 
times. By the number of seeds left, you can tell how many chil- 
dren you'll have. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 136, above. 

138 When a baby is born, if he is fat, and bends his knee, the 
number of wrinkles from the knee up to the thigh will prophesy 
the number of babies that will follow him. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 139, below. 

139 Vertical wrinkles in the brow of a baby indicate the number 
of children he will have. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 786 — Ohio: Bergen, 0<r- 
rent, No. 123 (horizontal wrinkles) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2324 — 
Indiana: Busse, p. 25, No. 40 (horizontal wrinkles). All references are 
to the parents, not the child, as here. 

140 When children play in the fire and make sparks fly. the 
saying is that that's the number of children they will have. 

Green Collection. In Slavonian countries a bride is led into her house, 
taken thrice around the hearth where she stirs the fire with a poker, 
saying, "As many sparks fly up, so many cattle, so many children shall 



superstitions: birth, childhood 27 

enliven the home" (Radford, p. 47). See also p. 81, s.v. "cradles," 
where the shooting out of these cinders from the fire indicate the birth 
of a child ; cf. p. 146, s.v. "hearth." Cf. Foster, p. 120, where the life 
of the fire is connected with the life of the family. 

141 If a child cuts his teeth early, it will not be long till another 
child follows. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
27 — Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 58 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 
150 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2698 — Wyoming: Walton, Super- 
stitions, p. 161, No. 6. Radford, p. 235, s.v. "teeth." Cf. p. 204 

("soon teeth; soon toes"). 

142 The number of knots in a first baby's cord tells the number 
of births to be in the family. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 10 — Tennessee: Farr, Chil- 
dren, No. 104 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2321 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 192. 
Cf. No. 156, below. HDA viii, 1310. 

143 Cutting up all the baby's clothes is a sure sign that another 
will soon need them. 

Green Collection. 

144 Giving away all of a baby's clothes is a sign of another 
baby. 

Green Collection. General: Bergen, Ctirrent, No. 52 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 2310. 

145 Rocking an empty cradle is a sign of another baby. 

Anonymous. General: Knortz, p. 8 — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, p. 165, 
No. 132 (French) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 47 ("Rock 

a cradle empty, / Babies will be plenty"). Radford, pp. 91, 204 

(cradle filled within a year). 

Sex 

146 There are methods of foretelling the sex of a child, or even 
of controlling it, if conception is made to take place at a certain 
time of the month. 

Green Collection. Cf. the influence of the moon in determining the sex 
of tlie cliild (No. 154, below). See general discussion on sex determi- 
nation in Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 527 fif. 

147 If a woman is larger in front during pregnancy, the child 
will be a male. 

Anonymous. Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 349 (boy lies to the left) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 219 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
2366; No. 2367 (not very large in abdomen); No. 2372 (boy carried 
high) ; No. 2374 (boy carried low) ; No. 2369 (boy, if wife's hips fill out 
first) — Ocarks: Randolph, 196; also a boy if carried low (ibid.) — 
California: Bushnell, No. 4; also a boy if the position is either high or 
to the left (ibid.). HDA iii, 729; Ploss-Renz i, 27. 



28 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

148 If the father wears his boots while his offspring is being 
born, the child will be a boy. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1897 (to get a male child, keep your boots on during coitus) ; 
No. 1895 (same, except hat) ; No. 1861 (keep your boots on and hold 
a carriage whip or blacksnake [whip?] in your hand during coitus). 
HDA VII, 1319; Ploss-Bartels i, 836. 

149 If your first-born is a girl, and you want a boy, turn your 
bed around. 

Mrs. W. G. Coltrane, Grifton, Pitt county. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 7 
(this works either way, insuring different sex in the next child). 

150 If a child says "Mama" first, the next child will be a boy. 

Anonymous. Cf. Marie-Ursule, p. 165, No. 131 (child saying "Papa" 
indicates a boy, not vice versa Quebec: [French]). — — HDA in, 729 
(parallelism maintained). 

151 If a child says "Papa" first, the next child following will be 
a girl. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. See references above, where 
the same conditions apply to a girl. 

152 Kiss your elbow and you can turn into a boy. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South: Puckett, p. 
357 (Negro) — South Carolina: Bryant i, 291, No. 36 — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 970 — Tennessee : Redfield, No. 460 — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 323 ; No. 322 (if a girl kisses her toe, she will change into a boy) 
— Ozarks: Randolph, p. 208 (if they can touch their elbows with a 
blister on their tongues). A girl eating nine persimmons in a row will 
turn into a boy in less than two weeks {Alabama: Bergen, Animal, 

No. 1376; cf. Knortz, p. 42). Cf. HDA in, 752 ff., where various 

ways of changing sex are listed. 

153 If a boy kisses his elbow, he will turn into a girl. 
Mrs. Crockette Williams, Eastern N. C. See No. 152, above. 

1 54 A child born on a shrinking moon will be a girl. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2361 (increase of the moon) ; 

No. 2362 (light of the moon). HDA 11, 809 (last quarter of the 

moon) ; Ploss-Bartels i, 837. 

155 If one bites off and swallows the head of a butterfly, one 
can turn into a person of the opposite sex. 

Anonymous, and Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. The permutation 
from caterpillar to butterfly lies, perhaps, at the base of this strange be- 
lief. For a discussion of these matters, see HDA vii, 1241 f. 

Ttuins 

156 Two knots near together in a first baby's cord indicates 
twins. 

Green Collection. Umbilicomantia, or as it is more properly called, 
omphalomantia (divination by means of the umbilical cord), is treated in 
HDA viii, 1310. Cf. 142, above. 



superstitions: birth, chtldhood 29 

157 A stone taken from a deer, and carried in the pocket or 
worn around the neck, gives the power to produce twins at will. 

F. C. Brown, Durham. 

158 Eating twin apples or any kind of twin fruit will cause the 
birth of twins. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, p. 332 (Negro) — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 2 (twin fruit or vegetable) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1853 (anything that has grown double) — Texas: Lake, 
p. 146 (if a newly married couple see a twin boll of cotton open in a 
field where other bolls have not yet been opened, twins will be born to 
them in the first year of their marriage) — Nebraska: Cannell, p. 36, No. 

18 (any kind of twin fruits). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 524; HDA 11, 

1030; viii, 206. 

Naming 

159 A woman had about five sons who all died after two or 
three years of age. Friends and relatives told her to name the 
next one Adam and he would live. Another son was born, 
named Adam, and he is about twenty-five now, the only male 
child which survived. 

Elizabeth Sutton, Durham. Cf. Knortz, p. 10 (the first-born son is named 
Adam so that he will live to an old age; also Eve). A child christened 
Eve, on the other hand, will not live long (Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 34 
[German]). A child given a name out of the Bible will be the last one 
born in that family (Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 22 [German]). 
HDA I, 165 ; VI, 954. 

160 If an unnamed baby falls ill, name it, and it will get well. 

Jane N. Ray, Meredith College. Cf. Brendle-Unger, p. 23 (a fretful 

unbaptized child cries for a name (Pennsylvania [German]). HDA 

VI, 960. 

161 If a child's father dies before the child is born, it is bad 
luck to name it after its dead father. 

Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham. This superstition seems compounded of two 
closely associated beliefs, namely, the ill luck associated with naming a 
child after its living parents, and the misfortune — often death itself — 
that results from naming a child after a dead brother or sister, or some 
relative further removed. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1917 (skip 
a generation in naming children after direct ancestors) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. loi (mother) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 24 (first son or 
daughter married after parents) — Nova Scotia: Fausct, No. 64 — 
Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 36 (child named for parents will not live long 
[German]) ; Brendle-Unger, p. 22 (child given the name of the father 
will be the last born in the family [German]) — Illinois: Allison, No. 
434; Hyatt, No. 2785 (no more children) — lotva: Stout, No. 17 
(Norwegian) — Washington: Tacoma, p. 32. Cf. Schrijnen i, 250; 
Addy, p. 97 (in both instances the child will die). Cf. HDA 11, 803 
(children take parents' names). The naming of infants after dead rela- 
tives is generally considered to bring misfortune upon the child, or early 
death. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1914 (dead brother or sister) 
— Louisiana: Roberts, No. 25 (deceased member of family) — New- 



30 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

foundland: Bergen, Current, No. 1448 (dead child) — Quebec: Marie- 
Ursule, p. 163, No. 33 (brother or sister [French]) — Ontario: Wintem- 
berg, Waterloo, p. 10 (brother or sister) ; Knortz, p. lor (dead relative) 

— New York: Herzfeld, p. 984 (dead relative) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
No. 33 (member of family — child will live to be old [German]) ; Brendle- 
Unger, p. 22 (brother or sister) — Missouri: Yoffie, p. 384 (among 
orthodox Jews it is forbidden for children to be named after living 
persons, and there is a frantic desire to name the child after someone who 
has died) — Ozarks: Randolph, Ozarks, p. 19 — California: Dresslar, 
p. 26. HDA VI, 953; Radford, p. 180; Udal, p. 178. 

162 A child should not be named after one who has suffered 
disaster. It is unlucky. 

Green Collection. 

Physical Attributes, Grozvth, etc. 

163 A pretty baby makes an ugly grown person ; and an ugly 
baby makes a pretty grown person. 

Miss Crockette Williams, Eastern N. C. South: Puckett, p. 336 (Negro) 

— North Carolina: Whiting, 363, s.v. "Baby" — South Carolina: Bryant 
I, 283, No. 3 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 36 — Tennessee: Farr, Children, 
No. 93; Farr, Riddles, No. 125 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 21 — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 20 (German) ; Fogel, No. loii (pretty 
cradle babies become ugly street gamins (German) ; Shoemaker, p. 19 
(a pretty child makes an ugly old woman) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2601, 
No. 2603 (pretty babies make ugly ladies) — lozva: Stout, No. 16 — 
Nebraska: Cannell, p. 34, No. 61 — California: Dresslar, p. 26. 

164 If you dream of a pretty infant it is good luck. 
Anonymous. For dreaming about babies, see No. 240, below. 

165 Dreaming of an ugly infant is bad luck. 
Anonymous. For dreaming about babies, see No. 240, below. 

166 If a girl resembles her father, and a boy his mother, they 
will have good luck. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and four other informants from 
widely separated localities. South: Puckett, p. 458 (if a girl resembles 
her mother "she sho' is bawn fer bad luck" [Negro]) — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 177 A, Nos. 176 f. (good luck for a child to 
resemble its father ; bad luck to take after its mother ; the sex of the 
child is unspecified) — Kentucky: Thomas, Nos. 99 f. — Massachusetts: 
Bergen, Current, No. 11 (if a child "favors its father" it is good luck 
for all) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2599 f. — Washington: Tacoma, p. 32. 
In the case of twins, the resemblance of son to mother and daughter to 
father must prevail if the children thus born are to be free from bonds 

and jail (Mississippi: Puckett, p. 336 [Negro]). Udal, p. 178; HDA 

IV, 131 1. 

167 A midwife claimed that a new baby will resemble the first 
person who carries it down the stairs, or out of doors. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2485 (if the mother during 
pregnancy will keep someone in mind for an ideal or pattern, her child 
when born will resemble that person ; cf. also No. 2460 ; Wheeler, p. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 31 

64 (the infant will resemble the first man whose house he visits). Cf. 
No. 200, below. 

168 Women can influence the looks and character of their un- 
born children. One nurse told of a woman who looked con- 
stantly at a picture, and when her baby was born the baby 
looked exactly like the picture. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 152 (some believed that be- 
havior traits in the child resulted from prenatal markings) — Quebec: 
Marie-Ursule, p. 165, No. 135 (French). Cf. the "mental image" re- 
ferred to in the notes to No. 167, above. 

169 The mother must never reach above her head, or the baby's 
head will be long, instead of round. 

Green Collection. Tabus against stretching on the part of the mother 
usually concern wrapping the umbilical cord around the baby's neck 
and strangling it. 

170 If a woman sees a corpse before the birth of her child, the 
baby will be pale in complexion. 

Anonymous. Browne, Vulgar Errors, V, xxiv. Cf. Nos. 114, above, 
and 198, below, for mention of untoward events attending the viewing of 
a corpse, attendance at a funeral, or the mother's conduct at a cemetery. 

171 If a child rubs his face with a shaving brush, black hairs 
will come on his face. 

Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. 

172 When a child screws up its face in grief or anger, it is said 
that if the wind changes suddenly, his face will freeze that way. 

Green Collection. 

173 It is considered very bad luck to weigh a newborn baby. 
The father has a rhyme about it : 

The more you weigh, 
The more you may. 

Green Collection. Cf. Bergen, Current, Nos. 39 f. Napier, p. 137; 

Leather, p. 113; Udal, p. 178. 

174 A child at the age of two years is just half as tall as it will 
be when grown. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, p. 339 (Negro) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 66 (Negro) — New York: Cutting, Lore, p. 41 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, No. 104 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2782 (full height 
will be twice the length of outstretched arms on second birthday). 

175 To make a child grow, measure it and place the measuring 
strings under the doorstep. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Baughman, F950.3 
(a). 



32 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

176 For undergrowth, the child is measured by the door jamb, 
a hole bored by an auger at his exact height, a lock of hair from 
the head of the child put in the hole, and a wedge driven in and 
whittled ofif smoothly. The child will grow rapidly thereafter. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Kate S. Russell, Rox- 
boro. Person county. See No. 177, below. 

177 For a child suffering from undergrowth, Negroes measure 
the child, bore a hole for his height, put in a few strands of hair, 
and drive a peg into the hole on the growing of each moon. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Osarks: Ran- 
dolph, p. 134. 

178 To prevent undergrowth, and to cause the fast growth of 
a child, sweep the baby (or the baby's feet) with a broom every 
morning. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, p. 339. For other 
notions about sweeping, see Nos. 192 f., 2913 fif., below. 

179 Eating sulphur and molasses in the spring is good to make 
children grow. "It's fertilizing for youth — like fertilizing the 
garden." 

J. Schaffner. 

180 If you shake hands above a child's head, it will stop him 
from growing. 

O. W. Blacknall, Kittrell, Vance county. 

181 Stepping over a child who is lying on the floor stunts its 
growth. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county, and three other informants 
from central counties. South: Richardson, p. 247 (Negro [?]) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1962 — Virginia: Bergen, Ctirrcnl, 
No. 30 — Georgia: Steiner, No. 86 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 43 (Ger- 
man) ; Grumbine, p. 283 — Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 184 — 

Nebraska: Cannell, p. 34, No. 68 — California: Dresslar: p. 26. HDA 

IV, 1320; Ploss-Renz i, 31 ; n, 36; Radford, p. 69; Gallop, p. 88; Meeker, 
p. 288. Cf. No. 638, below. 

182 If you step over a child, it will keep him from growing any 
more; but if you step back over him, he will keep on growing. 

Minnie Bryan Farrior, Duplin county. South: Puckett, pp. 338 f. 
(Negro) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 51 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, p. 20 (German) ; Hofifman, 11, p. 27 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 2799 — Missouri: Yoffie, p. 389 (Jewish) — Texas: Turner, p. 58. 
Cf. No. 639, below. 

183 If you step over a child, it will not grow any more for a 
year. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 33 

184 Passing the leg over the head of a child will stop its growth. 
Anonymous. 

185 Stepping over a grave will stop the growth of a child. 
Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. 

186 A child should not be allowed to jump out of the window. 
It will stop its growth. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. South Carolina: Bergen, 
Current, No. 32 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 20 (German) ; 
Fogel, No. 90 (German) ; Grumbine, p. 283 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2872 
— Missouri: Yoffie, p. 390 (Jewish) — Texas: Bogusch, p. 122; Turner, 

p. 158. Cf. No. 237, below, for another tabu involving windows. 

HDA IV, 1320. 

187 Peas placed in the shoes stop a child's growth. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 229 (no 
exact parallel). Peas as a symbol of fertility are treated in No. 7, above, 
and in the notes to No. 7927, below. Cf. also No. 188, below. 

188 To cure undergrowth, put gwana [guano?] in your shoes. 
Anonymous. 

189 If the hair of a child is washed from the juice of a grape- 
vine, it will be glossy and pretty. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. 
North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 231. Cf. No. 1563, below. 

190 If you wet a baby's hair, and curl it on the ninth day, it 
will have curly hair. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, 
Person county. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 226. 

191 If you crack the first louse you find on your baby's head 
on the bottom of a tin cup, the child will have a pretty head of 
hair. 

J. T. Carpenter, Durham county. The louse ritual is generally employed 
to make a good singer of the child, the humorous ceremony being known 
from Pennsylvania to the Ozarks. Cf. No. 209, below. Cf. Gallop, p. 53. 

192 If you sweep a baby from shoulders to feet, it will walk. 

Jane N. Ray, Meredith College. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1961 
(stand the baby in a corner nine mornings in succession and sweep it 
down with a broom nine times each morning). For other beliefs about 
sweeping, see No. 178, above, and Nos. 2913 ff., below. 

193 If you sweep the feet of a child with a broom, it will make 
him walk early. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). South: Puckett, p. 340 (sweep dust around 
child, or sweep dust into baby's lap for nine mornings [Negro]). 



34 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

194 If an infant is run around the house three times without 
stopping before it becomes the age of three days, it will walk fast 
and diligently when grown. 

Green Collection. 

Disposition 

195 The disposition of a pregnant woman governs that of the 
child. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, and anonymous entry. Quebec: Marie- 
Ursule, p. 165, No. 135 (French). Cf. No. 168, above. 

196 If a woman cries a great deal when she is pregnant, the 
child will cry a great deal. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Hoffman, 11, p. 28 (fretful baby crying 
for something which the mother wanted [German]) — Illinois: AlHson, 
No. 432 (baby will cry for the food its mother wanted before birth). 

197 The child of a woman who is greatly frightened while preg- 
nant will be of a nervous disposition, 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. For birthmarks resulting from fright 
in the mother, cf. Nos. 97 f., 112, above. 

198 If a pregnant woman meets a funeral, it will have a bad 
effect on the disposition of the baby. 

Anonymous. For the physical effects on the child of the mother's seeing 
a corpse, see Nos. 114, 170, above. 

199 A fretful baby is believed to long for something for which 
the mother herself had an ungratified desire previous to the in- 
fant's birth. The only remedy is to ascertain what this was, and 
to give it to the infant. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 168 (Ger- 
man) ; Brendle-Unger, p. 20 (German) ; Hoffman, n, p. 28 — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 432. 

200 A newborn baby will have a disposition like the first person 
that takes it out of the house, carries it around the house, and 
brings it back in the same door that they went out. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. South: Puckett, 
P- 339 (Negro) — Kentucky: Thomas, Nos. 33 f. (boy and girl babies 
affected by disposition of man or woman of the house, respectively, to 
which they are taken on their first visit) — Tennessee: Farr, Children, 
No. 85; Rogers, p. 39 — Georgia: Bergen, Current, No. 22; Moore, 
p. 305 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2725. Cf. No. 167, above. 

201 If you rock an empty cradle, it will make the baby cross. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. South: Puckett, p. 339 
(rocking an empty chair will make a baby mean) — Nova Scotia: 
Fauset, No. 356 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2738; No. 2739 (if you rock a 

sleeping baby in a cradle, it will become cross). Gallop, p. 87 (baby 

will grow up wild and lawless). 



superstitions: birth, childhood 35 

202 Never rock a cradle without anything in it, for it will bring 
bad luck. 

Anonymous. General: Knortz, p. 8 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 595 — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 117; Wintemberg, Toronto, No. 24 
(sickness to baby?) — Nezv England: Johnson, IVhat They Say, p. 67 
(injury to child) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 42 (child cannot rest) — ■ 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2737; Wheeler, p. 64 — Missouri: Yoffie, p. 389 
(Jewish) — Nevada: Loomis, Folklore, p. 417, No. 3. For deaths 

resulting from rocking an empty cradle, see No. 4890, below. Addy, 

p. 98. 

203 Ashes taken up in a room before a baby is a month old 
makes the baby a cross one. 

Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. For various beliefs about 
taking up ashes, see Nos. 2900 ff. and 8486, below. 

Character, Talents 

204 Birth fortune can be told in the book of Proverbs, Chapter 
21 for men, and Chapter 31 for women. 

Eleanor Simpson, Durham county. 

205 Place a baby on the floor with a bottle, a Bible, and some 
money before it. If he picks up the bottle first, he will be a 
drunkard when he grows up ; if he takes up the Bible, he will be 
a minister ; and if he plays with the money, he will be rich. 

Mary O. Pruette, Charlotte, and George E. Hoffman (Arkansas). In 
the related items below, which generally follow the pattern of the present 
item, only deviating forms are cited. General: Knortz, p. 13 (on first 
birthday, child chooses a silver dollar, a book, a Bible, a paint brush, 
or hammer, thus prognosticating that he will become rich [or a banker], 
a scholar, a preacher, an artist, or a carpenter, respectively) — Mary- 
land: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1571 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 42 (Bible, 
dollar, deck of cards [gambler]) — Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 14; 
No. 15 (bottle [drunkard] ) ; Farr, Riddles, No. 120 (harp) ; Farr, Super- 
stitions, No. 120 — Alabama: Hoffman entry above, unpublished — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 121 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 88 
(tool [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2850 ff . ; Norlin, p. 211, No. 
48 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 207 (coin [mercantile pursuits]) — 

Nebraska: Cannell, p. 48, No. 28. HDA iv, 1312 (rosary, bread, 

prayer book). 

206 If an infant clinches a coin that is put into its hand it will 
love money. An open-handed baby is generous ; a tight fist fore- 
tells avarice. 

Green Collection. References below are limited to the grasping or 
clutching of the baby's hand for a coin, indicating acquisitiveness in its 
various forms; open-handedness denotes a generous disposition. General: 
Knortz, p. 14 (deep lines in child's hand indicates greed for money) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, Nos. 38 ff., 43 f. — Tennessee: Farr, Children, 
Nos. II ff. ; Redfield, No. 292 — Louisiana: Roberts, Nos. 18 f. — 
Massachusetts: Bergen, Ciirrent, No. 10 — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2591 
f., 2844 ff. — California: Dresslar, p. 26 — Washington: Tacoma, p. 
22. Schrijnen i, 250; Knortz, p. 15 (England). 



36 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

207 Black eye, beauty, 
Grey eye, greedy gut, 
Eat the whole world up. 

Green Collection. General: Bergen, Current, No. iii. 

208 Objects sometimes used to indicate one's life work and for- 
tune are an account book, to indicate a businessman, a book upon 
a secular subject, to indicate a student (the Bible always indi- 
cating the preacher), part of an Army uniform to indicate a 
soldier, etc. 

George E. Hoffman (Arkansas). Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2780 — 
California: Dresslar, p. 26. Cf. No. 205, above. 

209 Take the first louse that you find on a baby's head, crack 
it on the Bible, and the baby will be a preacher. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2777 — Osarks: Randolph, p. 
336 (also may indicate lawyer, doctor, merchant, farmer, etc.). The 
prognostication attending on the cracking of the first louse found on a 
baby's head on the bottom of a tin cup, a bell, a song book, etc., is most 
usually associated with the notion that the child is destined to become 
a singer. Besides several American references not cited here, see Gallop, 
p. 53. Cf. No. 191, above, and the notes to No. 211, below. 

210 A baby should be carried upstairs before downstairs so that 
it will rise in life. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. General: Knortz, pp. 15 f. (raised as 
high as a chair) — North Carolina: Brewster, Customs p. 226 — South: 
Puckett, pp. 343 f. (greatness promised) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
Nos. 1950 ff. — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 30; cf. No. 29 — Tennessee: 
Farr, Children, Nos. 2, 6 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 20 — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 346 (lucky) — New England: Johnson, What They Say, 
p. 166 — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 19 — Neiv York: 
Barnes, No. 27', JAFL n (1889), 148, No. 9 (lucky) — Pennsylvania: 
Bergen, Current, No. 18; Brendle-Unger, p. 21 (carried into the attic, 
or simply placed on a chair ; this must be done before the ninth day 
[German]); Fogel, Nos. 56 fT. (German); Grumbine, p. 286; Phillips, 
p. 160, No. 9 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2719 — Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, 
No. 233 — California: Dresslar, p. 26 (lucky) — Washington: Tacoma, 
p. 19. Radford, pp. 37 f . ; Lean 11, loi ; Napier, p. 31. 

211 If a baby is taken upstairs the first time it goes out, it will 
have high ideals. 

Ethel Hicks Buffaloe, Oxford, Granville county, and Sarah K. Watkins, 
Anson and Stanly counties. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1952 — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. i ; Frazier, p. 45, No. i — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 21 (a child will have lofty thoughts if a louse is placed 
on its head and it is carried to the upper story of the house before it is 
nine months old [German]) ; Hoffman 11, p. 27 (before the ninth day, 
and with such things as a Bible and a silver spoon in hand) — lotva: 
Stout, No. 26. For other "louse" rituals, see Nos. 191, 209, above. 

212 When a first trip out of the house is made by a wee baby, 
it must first be taken upstairs before it goes down so it will rise 
in the world ; also, all the jewelry in the house must be put on it 
on this momentous occasion so it will be rich. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 37 

Mary Prichard Taylor (Florida). For a discussion of "rising in the 
world," see No. 210, above; here reference is made only to jewelry and 
other symbols of wealth. General: Knortz, p. 9 (child carried into open 
air with a silver coin in its mouth) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1956 (coin in baby's hand as it ventures forth) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
Nos. 68 f. (decking with jewelry; trip not mentioned [German]). 

213 If a pregnant woman is interested in something special, and 
makes a sti:dy of it, such as music, art, cooking, or sewing, the 
child will be gifted in that particular thing. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1850 
(if a woman plays musical instruments much during pregnancy, her off- 
spring will be musical [German]). 

214 Long fingers are a sign of musical ability. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro ("My Negro mammy told my mother that 
about me when I was a baby"). New England: Johnson, What They 
Say, p. 115 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2581 (pianist) — Oregon: Hand, 
No. 42. The Tennessee belief that a baby with big ears will be a musi- 
cian is worth noting here (Redfield, No. 293). 

215 If you play musical instruments, or do art work, while 
carrying a child, the child will be musical or an artist. 

Carolyn Kay Root, Durham. Cf. No. 213, above. 

216 If a child is bright, and starts talking at the age of three 
months, it's a sign he or she will become very great. 

G. B. Caldwell, Jr., Monroe, Union county. 

217 Bastards are smarter than most people. They are especially 
so marked by the Lord. 

Green Collection. 

218 It is bad luck to push a bright child. 

Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill. This belief is perhaps associated with 
the notion that precocious children die young. Cf. No. 4887, below. 

'219 A child allowed to sleep in the moonlight will have its wits 
muddled. 

Anonymous. General: Knortz, p. 107 (also: sick) — North Carolina: 
Newsweek, August 10, 1953, p. 72 (if you conceive during a full moon, 
the baby may be touched in the head) — Osarks: Randolph, Ozark, p. 
84 (misfortune to follow if moonlight falls upon a child at birth) • — 

California: Dresslar, p. 20. Cf. Nos. 2759 f., below. HDA 11, 809; 

HI, 408; IV, 1318; VII, 1419; Johnson, Normandy, p. 170; Gallop, p. 65; 
Leland, p. 50. 

220 The first-born will be the most fortunate member of the 
family. 

Green Collection. The third son is usually thought to be more intelligent 
than his brothers and sisters. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 82 — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children. No. 4 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 207 (also the 
fourth son). In French Canada, a child born after the death of its father 
has a special gift {Quebec: Marie-Ursule, p. 116, No. 138 [French]). 



38 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

221 The seventh child in the family is born for good luck. 

Julian P, Boyd. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 178; No. 178A 
(seventh son of a seventh son) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 124 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2627 — California: Dresslar, p. 81. 

222 The seventh son of a seventh son will have special endow- 
ments. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. 6 (superior) — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 34 (superior). 

223 The seventh son will have the power to cure. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, p. 138 (Negro) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 3131 (seventh son of a seventh son). No. 3132 — Ten- 
nessee: Redfield, No. 182 — Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, p. 198 
(seventh son of a seventh son [German]) ; Waugh, No. 581 (same as 
previous item ; the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter is similarly 
gifted) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 163 (German) — Indiana: Brewster, 
Beliefs, No. 196 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2625 (seventh son of a seventh 
son) — Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, p. 162 (seventh son of a seventh 
son) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, p. 75 (seventh sons of seventh sons) ; 
Smith, Folk Cures, p. 79 (same as previous item) — California: Dresslar, 
p. 81 — Washington: Tacoma, p. 30 (seventh son of a seventh son; also 

seventh daughter of seventh daughter). Radford, pp. 183, 216 f. ; 

Foster, p. 64; Hewett, p. 45; JAFL vn (1894), 225; Napier, p. 90; 
Baughman, D2161.S.8. 

224 The seventh son will be especially gifted as a physician. 

Green Collection. Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county, 
reports an instance from Smokemont, in the Great Smoky Mountains, 
where the seventh son was named "Doctor." The ninth son was named 
"Colonel." 

225 If a woman gets frightened when she is pregnant, the baby 
will be easily frightened and cowardly. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 97 f., above, for markings on a child supposedly 
resulting from the fright of the mother. 

226 If the first child is a boy, all his father's hats must be 
burned, else "he'll be a no 'count, dirt-eatin', yeller coward." 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, pp. 225 f. ("My 
mammy before me foUered burnin' hats, an' she said the only man who 
ever begredged a hat wuz the daddy of the triflin'est no'countest, dirt- 
eatin'est boy this side of the Ridge. This fire cleans the baby's road"). 
Cf. No. 266, below ; also No. 265, together with references to "hats" 
in the notes to No. 32, above. For a brief discussion of this custom 
among Cornish miners, see CFQ i (1942), 202 f. A rnore detailed ac- 
count of this custom in North Carolina itself is contained in WF xiv 
(1955), 52-54- 

227 If you cut a baby's nails before he is twelve months old. he 
will be roguish. 

Marie Harper and F. C. Brown, both of Durham. South: Puckett, p. 338 
— Tennessee: Redfield, No. 290. Cf. Nos. 232 fi., below, for other beliefs 
about fingernails. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 39 

228 If a baby looks in a mirror, it will be a robber. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 229, below. 

229 Let a baby look into a mirror before it is nine months old, 
and it will steal. 

Julian P. Boyd, Kentucky: Fowler, No. 7 (before it is two years old) 

— California: Dresslar, p. 26 (one year). 

230 If you kiss a baby while it is asleep, it will grow up to steal. 
Green Collection. 

231 If you cut the hair before the baby is a year old, it will steal. 

Merle Smith, Stanly county. South: Puckett, p. 338 (before he begins 
to talk [Negro]). Cf. Nos. 250 f., below. Leather, p. 113. 

232 To cut a baby's fingernails before he is three months old 
will make him steal. 

Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. In the following refer- 
ences "fingernails" and "nails" occur interchangeably ; all references to 
time are "before" such and such a time, unless otherwise stated. General: 
Knortz, p. 15 (during first year) — South: Porter, p. 113; Puckett, p. 338 
(a year [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1942 (light- 
fingered) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 51 (one month [light-fingered]) 

— Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 115 (a year [thief]) ; Farr, Children, 
No. 29 (a year) ; Rogers, p. 39 (three months [kleptomaniac]) ; p. 38 
(also two months, and varying up to a year) — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 35 (the baby will be a thief unless you cut his nails into an open 
Bible) — Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 354 (a year) — Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 140 (six months) ; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 115 (a year) — New 
England: Johnson, IVhat They Say, p. 112 (before first birthday) — 
Massachusetts: Edwards, p. 103 (nails of babies are never cut, because 
they would then become robbers [Armenian]) — New York: JAFL 
II (1889), 148, No. II (three months [light-fingered]) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, p. 22 (to pare an infant's nails may cause it to become a 
thief, for one must scratch for his livelihood [German]) ; Fogel, No. 
153 (a year [German]) ; Hofifmann 11, p. 27 (German) ; Phillips, p. 161, 
No. 23 (light-fingered) ; Shoemaker, p. 16 (a year) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 2748 (one month [light-fingered]); Norlin, p. 211, No. 50 (one 
month) ; Smith 11, 67, No. 3 (a year) — Texas: Turner, p. 173 (a year) 

— California: Dresslar, p. 25 — Washington: Tacoma, p. 29 — Domini- 
can Republic: Andrade, p. 406 (until baptized). Cf. Nos. 252 fT. 

HDA IV, 1320; Radford, pp. 25, 120; Addy, p. 102; Leather, p. 113; 
Napier, p. 139; Laval, p. 19, No. 24. 

233 If you cut a baby's fingernails (with scissors) before he is 
a year old, he will be a thief. Bite them off. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and eight other informants predomi- 
nantly from central and western counties. References are to cutting 
with scissors or other specified instruments ; also to biting or tearing of 
nails. North Carolina: Bergen, Current, No. 55 (scissors, before child is 
a year old) ; Hoke, p. 115 (scissors, a year) — South: Porter, p. 113 
(nails should be bitten off, but not on Friday or Sunday, because that is 
dangerous) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 52 (if you bite a baby's fingernail, 
it will steal) — Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 30 (biting nails, makes 
child steal) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, p. 16, No. 29 (nails should be 



40 MORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

bitten off before child is a year old to keep him from stealing) — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, Oxford, No. 15 (same as in Creighton) — New 
York: Herzfeld, p. 985 (torn or bitten off; otherwise child will be thief) 
— Pennsylvania: Grumbine, p. 284 (bitten off before the first year) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2749 (scissors tabu for first year), No. 2750 (child 
will develop thievish tendencies if nails are bitten off) — Ozarks: Ran- 
dolph, p. 309 (tabu against metal blade; nails bitten off) — California: 
Dresslar, p. 26 (nails should be torn) — Washington: Tacoma. p. 19 

(scissors tabu). Cf. No. 254, below. Radford, pp. 25, 179; Schrijnen 

I, 250; Ploss-Renz 11, 33. 

234 If a baby's fingernails are cut before he is two years old, 
he will be a robber (will steal). 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. No. 232 f., above. 

235 Tickling the bottom of an infant's foot will cause it to steal. 
Green Collection. 

236 If a child laughs when you tickle his knee, he'll steal sugar. 
Green Collection, and Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. 

237 To pass a child through the window makes a thief of him. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1943 (be- 
fore he is a year old) — New York: Herzfeld, p. 985 — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 89 (if a child is permitted to crawl in and out a window 
[German]) — Iowa: Stout, No. 32. Cf. No. 186 for stunting of growth 
as a result of passing a child through a window. Widely held, also, is 
the view that bad luck attends such an act. As an exception, however. 
Stout notes the Iowa belief that good luck will be the lot of a new- 
born baby passed through a window on a horse collar (No. 27). 

Ploss-Renz 11, 37. 

Fortune 

238 If you dream of a death, it is a sign of birth. 

Julian P. Boyd. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1928 — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 
6100 f. — loiva: Stout, No. I149 — Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, p. 160 
— Nebraska: Cannell, p. 29, No. 5 — California: Dresslar, p. 125. 

239 Southern Negroes believe in reincarnation. For every 
death they believe there is a birth. 

Helen Fraser Smith. South: Puckett, p. 112 (Negro). 

240 It is bad luck to dream of an infant. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. All references below indicate bad luck, 
unless otherwise noted. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1916 (good luck) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 144 (good luck to dream of a white 
baby), No. 145 (good luck to dream of a baby, unless it cries), No. 
685 (you will be disappointed) — Labrador and Ncivfonndland:^ Bergen, 
Current, No. 527 (bad luck to dream of naked clinging [climbing?] 
children) — Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 61 — Pennsylvania: Shoe- 
maker, p. 5 (misfortune) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5975 (good luck). No. 
5976 (if you dream of a laughing baby, it will bring good luck to your 



superstitions: uirtii, childhood 41 

home), No. 5977 (crying baby: deep sorrow) — California: Dresslar, 
p. 126 (trouble). 

241 Dreams of a newborn infant indicate accidents. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

242 Your fate is ruled by the star under whose influence you 
were born. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 550 — Tennessee: Rogers, 
Moon, p. 54, No. 5 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. i (bad children born 
under an evil star) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2529. Closely akin to the 
notion of the influence of the stars on human life is the belief that stars 
guide new souls to earth, or that they indicate births which are to occur. 

Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2316, 10691 fit., esp. No. 10695. HDA 111, 

406; Kamp, p. 33, No. 21; Radford, pp. 118, 219, 223. 

243 If your initials spell a word, you will be lucky. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South: Puckett, p. 335 (Negro) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, Nos. 329 ff. Radford, p. 72. 

244 A caul over the face of a child at birth is good luck. 

Green Collection. General: Bergen, Current, No. 15 — South: Puckett, 
p. 336 (Negro) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1905 — Quebec: 
Marie-Ursule, p. 166, No. 137 (French) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 

141 (German) ; Phillips, p. 161, No. 27. Ploss-Renz i, 54 f¥. ; 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 593 f . ; Feilberg iii, 178, s.v. "sejrsskjorte" ; Rad- 
ford, p. 65; Leather, p. 112; McCartney, 113 ff. Thompson, T589.4. 

245 A child born with a veil over its face will see in later life 
many supernatural things, such as ghosts, spirits, and apparitions 
hidden from the eyes of ordinary man. 

Henry Belk, Monroe, Union county. Mr. Belk says, in part, ". . . firmly 
believed by Negroes and a certain class of whites in my county." South: 
Puckett, p. 336 (able to tell fortunes [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1908 (prophecy) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 12 (second 
sight), No. 13 (green veil shrouding the face endows child with gift of 
prophecy) — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 121 (if the veil is a triple 
one, prophetic powers are exceptionally good) — Georgia: Steiner, No. 
I (able to see spirits) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 12 (able to see the 
dead ; an actual instance is cited. There is also a discussion about the 
care of a caul [Negro]) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 349 (second sight) 
— Neiv York: Cutting, Lore, p. 41 (supernatural powers) ; Webb, p. 
89 (possessed of second sight, and able to prophesy) — Indiana: Brew- 
ster, Beliefs, No. 187 (psychic) — Illinois: Allison, No. 439 (prophecy) ; 
Hyatt, Nos. 2605 f. (second sight), Nos. 2607 fif. (able to see and talk to 
ghosts). No. 2610 (fortune teller). No. 2611 (gift of healing). No. 2612 
(child will be intelligent) — Iowa: Stout, No. 37 (able to forecast the 
future) — Oregon: Hand, No. 17 (will be a genius). Cauls likewise 
insure their owners against drowning (Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1907 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2618 — Oregon: Hand, No. 17), and confer 

eloquence upon lawyers (Radford, p. 66; McCartney, p. 115). In 

addition to authorities cited in No. 244, above, consult the following: 
HDA in, 890 fT. ; Radford, pp. 65 f . ; Schrijnen i, 248; Addy, p. 120; 
Henderson, pp. 22 f. ; Foster, p. 64 ; Napier, p. 32 ; Leland, p. 250 ; Mc- 
Cartney, p. IIS (preacher relies on caul). 



42 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

246 One will never have ill luck if one sheds large tears when a 
baby. 

Anonymous. 

247 If a baby cries a great deal, shedding large tears, it will 
have a lot of trouble in life. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and two anonymous inform- 
ants. 

248 When little children in their sleep put their arms on their 
heads, we must put them down, for they are calling misfortune 
on their heads. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). In Nebraska the belief is held that if a baby 
sleeps with its hands thrown up over its head, it is a sign the child is 
thriving (Cannell, p. 34, No. 63). This is the only close example that 
can be cited, but significance does attach to the way a baby sleeps, as the 
following examples show: General: Knortz, p. 14 (the bed must be 
placed so the child sleeps with its head to the east) — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 1963 (do not look at a sleeping child, or it will 
awake) — Missouri: Yoffie, p. 390 (Jewish mothers will not let a child 
lie on its back and look upward) — New Mexico: Baylor, p. 146, No. 
18 (if a baby is asleep, don't watch him; it's bad luck [Spanish]). Cf. 
Nos. 261 f., below, for beliefs concerning babies smiling in their sleep. 

249 It is bad luck to kiss a baby before he or she is three months 

old. 

G. B. Caldwell, Jr., Monroe, Union county. This item runs contrary 
to the usual folk notions about kissing a new-born baby. Unless other- 
wise noted, all references cited below indicate good luck to the person 
kissing the baby or mean that a wish made on kissing a baby will come 
true. General: Knortz, p. 13 (wish) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 15 — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 26 (kiss a baby boy for good luck) — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 341; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 258 (wish) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2806 ff., No. 2783 (kissing a baby's mouth is un- 
lucky). Cf. No. 263, below. 

250 A child is subject to bad luck all his life if his hair is cut. 

Alexander Tugman, Todd, Ashe county. Unless otherwise stated, all 
references cited indicate bad luck if the child's hair is cut before its 
first birthday. Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 25; Rogers, p. 39 — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 22 (German); Shoemaker, p. 13 (bad 
luck to put a crock on a baby's head when cutting its hair) — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 438; Hyatt, No. 2758 (trim a child's hair for luck on 
Friday when the moon is growing). 

251 A child is subject to bad luck all his life if his hair is cut 
as he sees himself in a mirror before he is a year old. 

Alexander Tugman, Todd, Ashe county. For the time limit of one 
year before cutting a baby's hair, see No. 250 (notes), above; bad luck 
associated with a child's looking into a mirror is treated in No. 255, 
below. 

252 It is bad luck to cut a baby's fingernails (before it is a year 
old). 



superstitions: birth, childhood 43 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county, and two other informants 
from Alexander and Durham counties. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 34 
(until after it has teethed) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 114 — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 22 (before the child is nine weeks 
[German]) — Illinois: Wheeler, p. 64 — /ozca: Stout, No. 29 — Cali- 

jornia: Dresslar, p. 25. Cf. Nos. 232 f., above. Napier, p. 39; Udal, 

p. 178; Foster, p. 93. 

253 Do not cut the nails of an infant before it is a year old if 
you wish it to live. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Neiv England: Johnson, What They 
Say, p. 112 (nails cut before the child is a year old will bring it to an 
early grave) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2746 (scissors used before six 
months will cause the death of the child), No. 2747 — Osarks: Randolph, 
p. 309 (if the nails are cut with a metal blade, the baby will die within 
a year) ; Randolph, Ozark, p. 85 (death before second birthday) — 
Nezv Mexico: Espinosa, p. 415 (if babies have their fingernails cut, it 
shortens their lives [Spanish]). 

254 A child's fingernails should not be cut until he is a year 
old, or you will not be able to raise him. Bite the nails ofif. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 
p. 226. References to unseasonable demise are contained in the notes 
to No. 253, above. Only references to biting the nails off, or a mother's 
cutting them, are given here. Kentucky: Fowler, No. 52a (nails bitten 
off) ; Price, p. 33 (nails bitten ofT) ; Thomas, No. 54 (anyone except a 
mother may cut a baby's nails without damage) — Tennessee: Rogers, 

p. 39 (nails bitten off). Cf. No. 233, above. Napier, p. 39; Udal, 

p. 282 (mother or nurse should bite off nails). 

255 Don't let baby look in a mirror until it is a year old. It 
will bring misfortune of some kind. 

Eva Furr, Stanly county, and the Green Collection. General: Knortz, 
p. 42 (a life full of care) — South: Puckett, p. 344 (Negro) — South 
Carolina: Fitchett, p. 360 (child will be sickly) — Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 60 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 33 (bad luck to let a teething baby 
look into a mirror) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 116 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Brendle-Unger, p. 21 (before nine months [German]) ; Hoffman 
II, p. 27 (nine months [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 2829 fT. (mis- 
fortune attends a child's looking over its shoulder into a mirror before 
it is a year old) — Iowa: Stout, No. 24, No. 20 (child will be sickly) 
— Osarks: Randolph, p. 207 — New Mexico: Moya, p. 64, No. 49 
(Spanish). For references to death as a result of a child's looking into 

a mirror, see Nos. 4892 flf., below. Cf. also Nos. 228 f., 251, above. 

Addy, p, 102 (before the child can walk) ; Leather, p. 113. 

256 If a baby doesn't fall off of a bed before it is a year old, it 
will not live to be grown. 

Anonymous. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2825 — Washington: Tacoma, p. 23. 
No time limit for the fall is set in either case. 

257 It is bad luck for a child under one year old to look in a 
well. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. 



44 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

258 Bathe the baby in the chamber pot. This will keep him 
from leaving home after he is grown. 

Green Collection. 

259 A baby with two curls on its head will break bread on two 
continents. 

Green Collection. Ontario: Waugh, No. 348 (two crowns on its head; 
will live in two kingdoms) — Illinois: Wheeler, p. 64 (two crowns; will 
set foot in two countries). Cf. No. 480, below. 

Miscellaneous 

260 Infants wear amber beads against fairy influences. 

Green Collection. General: Knortz, p. 12 (coral, or shells to protect the 
child from misfortune) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1484A (a 
silver dollar tied around the baby's neck with red thread will keep 
anyone from harming it) — Florida: Hauptmann, p. 12 (a bracelet of 
red and white beads is worn by children to ward off the evil eye 
[Spanish]) — Osarks: Randolph, p. 291 (necklaces of dried burdock 
roots are worn by children against witchcraft) — Neiv Mexico: Espi- 
nosa, p. 410 (strings of coral worn against evil eye [Spanish]) ; Moya, 

p. 35 (coral necklace against evil eye [Spanish]). HDA i, 1091 ; 

Budge, pp. 12, 307 f. Coral is also widely used as an amulet against 
various forms of witchcraft. Cf. Addy, p. 81; Napier, p. 36; JAFL 
rv (1891), 35 (Nicaragua) ; Arias, p. 265 (pieces of male and female 
coral). 

261 If a baby smiles in its sleep, it is a sign that it is seeing 
angels. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. General: Knortz, p. 
16 (angels playing with child) — Kentucky: Fowler, No. i8a (dream- 
ing of angels) — Tennessee: Rogers, p. 39 (dreaming of angels) — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 119 (smiling at the angels) — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, No. 124 (angels playing with child [German]) — Missouri: 
Yoffie, p. 390 (playing with angels [Jewish]) — Neia Mexico: Baylor, 
p. 149, No. 76 (if a baby is sleeping and starts to laugh, the angels of 
heaven are with him [Spanish]). More prosaic explanations of a baby's 
smiling in its sleep are given in Maryland (Whitney-Bullock, No. 1936) 
and Pennsylvania (Fogel, No. 122 [German]), namely: the child has 
the colic. HDA iv, 1312. 

262 When a baby smiles in its sleep, the angels are talking to it. 

Green Collection, and anonymous. General: Bergen, Current, No. 42 — 
South Carolina: Bryant i. 284, No. 18 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 1934 (angels are telling it stories) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 18 
— Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 83 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 39 — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 119 — Indiana: Busse, p. 26, No. 34 
(angels are whispering to him) — Illinois: Allison, No. 428; Hyatt, 
No. 2835 — Iowa: Stout, No. 6 (Danish) — Missouri: Yoffie, p. 390 
(Jewish) — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 209 (when an infant smiles in its 
sleep, it may mean that the child is talking to the angels, and this is a bad 
omen) — Nebraska: Cannell, p. 34, No. 64; Nebraska Proverbs i, 9 — 
New Mexico: Espinosa, p. 408, No. i (conversing with guardian angel 
[Spanish]) — PVashington: Tacoma, p. 16. Ploss-Renz n, 32, 



superstitions: birth, childhood 45 

263 If you have never seen a baby, and go to see it for the first 
time, go in without speaking, go to the baby, and kiss its feet, 
then wish. The wish will come true. 

Green Collection. Cf. Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 112 (bad luck 
to the child if you kiss its feet) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2807 (on your 
first visit to a new baby, kiss the bottoms of its feet and you will give 
it luck). Cf. No. 249, above. 

264 It is bad luck to have new top clothes for a baby. They 
should be made of old material. 

Green Collection. Reasons are not given for this strange belief, which 
calls to mind the fact that the bride must wear "something old" as well 
as "something new." A Louisiana superstition, however, may reveal a 
possible motivation : "If you dress a little girl in fine clothes you are 
raising her for the devil" (Roberts, No. 863). General: Knortz, p. 12 
(it is good luck to wrap a child in a borrowed dress immediately after 
birth) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 8 (a baby's layette should also contain 
something old) — loiva: Stout, No. 12 (same as previous item [Nor- 
wegian]) — Osarks: Randolph, p. 208 (it is good luck for a new baby 
to wear another baby's clothes ; but once worn, these must never be 
returned to the child for whom they were first intended). 

265 All children should be wrapped in some garment of their 
father's. 

Green Collection. "An old English belief still existing in the mountains" 
— P.G. General: Knortz, p. 12 (father's shirt) — Ozarks: Randolph, 
p. 204 f. (shirt) ; ibid, (for good luck, a baby girl is given her mother's 
petticoat as swaddling clothes). HDA iv, 1316. 

266 When the first boy is born to a family, the old women of 
the neighborhood collect and burn all of the hats that the baby's 
father owns. This brings good luck, and if it isn't done, the baby 
won't be "wuth a cent," and old Urim will get him. 

Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. This curious custom of 
burning the father's hat is discussed at length by Brewster (North Caro- 
lina: Customs, pp. 225 fT.). See also the same custom as practiced in 
the Ozarks (Randolph, p. 205), including the burning of a child's cap 
given the baby as a gift by some ignorant outsider (p. 199). Cf. related 
beliefs: Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1946 (bad luck to put a 
man's hat on a baby's head) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, p. 26 
(when male visitors come to see a new-born child, one of the attendants 
seized the visitors' hats and threw them behind or under the mother's bed. 
Then they had either to get the hats themselves or pay for them) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2761 (it is unlucky to put someone's hat on a baby's 
head before the child is a year old). For a more detailed account of 
this custom in North Carolina, see WF xiv (1955), 52-54. The odd 
uses to which men's hats and other items of clothing are put in customs 
relating to childbirth may be seen in the notes to No. 32, above. For 
further information, see Hand, Couvade, pp. 214 f., 217, 220 f., passim. 
Cf. No. 226, above. 

267 A cat will suck a baby's breath if left alone in the room 
with the baby. 

Louise Lucas, White Oak, Bladen county, and three other informants 
from widely separated localities. General: Knortz, p. 129 — South 



46 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Carolina: Bryant ii, 146, No. 61 — Georgia: Steiner, No. 96 — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 114; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 46 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, p. 21 (German) — Illinois: Smith 11, p. 67 — Missouri: McKin- 
ney, p. 109 — Washington: Tacoma, p. 17. In the foregoing references, 
death is not mentioned as resulting, though perhaps impHed. For 
specific references to death by strangulation and suffocation, see No. 4888, 

below. HDA iv, 1320; Radford, p. 170 ; Lean 11, 113; Udal, p. 233. 

Thompson, B766.2. 

268 A cold wind blowing through an open door is said to be a 
stepmother's breath. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. 

269 For one's petticoat to hang below the dress is a sign that 
your father loves you best. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. General: Knortz, 
p. 140 — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 144, No. 10 — Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 2091 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 865 — Nezv England: Bergen, 
Current, No. 1391 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3607; No. 3606 (hem of the 
dress turned up indicates that the father likes the daughter more than 
the mother does) ; No. 3561 (if you are walking, and your shoe string 
comes unfastened, your father loves you better than your mother does). 
No. 3562 (the opposite). Radford, p. 262; Napier, p. 137. 

Health 

270 If a mother looks at a corpse during pregnancy, her child 
will be unhealthy. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 170, above; also No. 114. 

271 If you put fat meat in a baby's mouth immediately after he 
is born, he will be healthy. 

Julian P. Boyd. Tennessee: O'Dell, Superstitions, pp. 3 f. (new-born 
babies were often given a long strip of fat meat to suck to ward off 
diseases). Cf. No. 272,, below. 

272 Carry the baby out before it is nine days old and it will not 
be healthy. 

Julian P. Boyd. Jamaica: Beckwith, No. 134 (before carrying a baby 
outdoors on the ninth day after birth, give it a tea made of wild-yam 
leaves). A child should be taken first into the sunlight on Sunday. It 
should also be put into short clothes on that day, and all other changes 
made (Bergen, Current, No. 17). The first trip out of the house, ac- 
cording to Pennsylvania German practices, was to church (Brendle- 
Unger, p. 22), and some people insisted that the child must be taken 
to church in a straight line so as not to make it lose its way later in life 
(Nezu York: Herzfeld, p. 984). Cf. Nos. 210 f., above, for moving a 
baby about indoors. 

273 Feed babies "sugar teats," or let them suck fat meat, if you 
want strong babies. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. See No. 80, above, for a 
description of a sugar teat, and for further references; and No. 271, 
above, for references to babies' sucking fat meat. 



superstitions: birth, child iioou 47 

274 If an aged person sleeps with a child, it will absorb the 
child's strength. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. New England: Johnson, 
What They Say, p. 76 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 21 (German) ; 
Fogel, No. 85 (permitting a child to sleep with an older person will 
shorten the child's life by ten years [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5834 (the child's life will be shortened) ; No. 5833 (the effects of this 
sapping of vitality can be lessened by placing a pillow between the old 
person and the child). Worth noting in this connection is the Louisiana 
belief that a child never catches a disease from an old person (Roberts, 
No. 49). In the realm of magic influences, southern Negroes believe 
that a child should not be allowed to look an older person directly in 
the face for fear of bringing on bad luck (Puckett, p. 343). Cf. No. 
640, below. 

275 Catnip tea with squirrel liquor is good for a sick child with 
no appetite. 

Anonymous. Cf. New York: Herzfeld, p. 986 (whiskey as a tonic for 
children). Cf. No. 659, below. 

276 White sassafras roots (better than the red) are good for 
an ailing child. 

Anonymous. Cf. Ozarks: Randolph, p. 154 (sassafras tea). 

277 A good medicine for children in the spring is a mixture of 
sulphur and molasses. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, p. 177 (German). 

Ailments and Remedies 
Bed Wetting 

278 If a child plays with fire before retiring at night, it will 
cause the child to urinate in bed. 

Green Collection, and Carl G. Knox, Brunswick county. South: Puckett, 
p. 420 (Negro) — Virginia: Martin, No. 26 (chunking the fire after 
sundown causes bed wetting) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1551 — Louisi- 
ana: Roberts, No. 538 — Pennsylvania: Phillips, p. 166, No. 43 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4311, No. 4312 (playing with matches) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 1066 (Danish) — Ozarks: Randolph, pp. 62 f. — Texas: 

Turner, p. 159 — New Mexico: Espinosa, p. 409, No. 5 (Spanish). 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 673 ; HDA iv, 1312. 

279 For bed wetting, cook a mouse, preferably by boiling, and 
make a sandwich of it, and feed it to the child. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, p. 134 (roast mice) — South: 
Puckett, pp. 386 f. (fried, but parboiled first [Negro]) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, Nos. 1480, 1483 (fried [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4327 
(mice tea). No. 4328 (fried), No. 4329 (roasted). No. 4330 (bite the 
head of a mouse off into a cloth ; put the head in the cloth around the 
baby's neck, and throw the body of the mouse away. After wearing this 
for several days the child will stop wetting the bed) — Indiana: 
Brewster, Cures, p. 34, No. 2; Brewster, Specimens, p. 363 (both ex- 



48 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

amples "fried"). Radford, pp. 172, 246; Ploss-Renz 11, 672 ff. ; cf. 

HDA VI, 761. 

280 Fried rat is said to be a cure for children who wet their 
beds. 

Anonymous, and Green Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 
p. 228 — General: Knortz, p. 134 (rat soup) — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 47 — Bahamas: Clavel, p. 27 (roasted rats, and rat broth). 

281 Gum bark tea will keep children from wetting the bed. 

Anonymous. There are no exact parallels to this, but various teas and 
other plant remedies are noted from Illinois that will indicate the general 
range of such prescriptions for other parts of the country (Hyatt, Nos. 
4314, 4325, 4331, 4333 f., 4336). Pumpkin seeds are also fed to bed 
wetters (Nova Scotia: Creighton, p. 98, No. 95 — Georgia: Campbell, p. 
3) ; also watermelon seeds {O^zarks: Randolph, p. 102). Corn silk tea 
is popular in Illinois (Hyatt, No. 4318) and the Ozarks (Randolph, p. 
102). From the far West only the chewing of pine gum has been 
noted {Utah: Baker-Wilcox, p. 191). 

282 Never let the navel string fall when it comes off. Throw 
it to the back side of the fire, or the baby will urinate all its life. 

Green Collection. The following two references show the importance 
of proper care of the umbilical cord if the child is to escape the plight of 
bed wetting. Indiana: Brewster, Cures, p. 34, No. i (when the navel 
cord is removed, bring it over the child's head, down behind the back, 
and out between the legs, and the child will never wet the bed) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2708 (if you lay down the navel cord removed from 
a baby, you will make the child a bedwetter). Of interest here, in 
connection with Nos. 279 f., above, is the precaution that must be taken 
to keep a mouse from gnawing at the afterbirth on pain of making the 
child a bed wetter (HDA vi, 761). 

Bowlegs 

283 If a child has rickets and attempts to walk too early, or if 
he sits too long, he will be bow-legged. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 
38. Among the Polish folk of Delaware, the big toe of the baby is 
kissed at the christening, and unless the parents kiss the toe first, the 
child will become bowlegged (Knortz, pp. 10 f.). Southern Negroes 
sweep a baby with an old broomsedge to keep it from having bowlegs 
(Puckett, pp. 349 f.). 

Choking 

284 When baby is choked, raise its right arm above the head 
several times. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. This sensible procedure has not been 
noted elsewhere. 

Colic 

285 A child will have the colic if its empty cradle is rocked. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county, and Clara Hearne, Roanoke 
Rapids, Halifax county. Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 41; Farr, 



superstitions: birth, childhood 49 

Riddles, No. Ii6 — Ontario: Wintemberg, German i, 48; German ir, 
93; Waterloo, p. 21 — Neiv York: Bergen, Current, No. 50 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, No. 41 (German) ; Hoflfman n, p. 27 (German) — Ohio: 
Bergen, Current, No. 50 — Iowa: Stout, No. 404. 

286 To cure colic, lay the child on its stomach and rub its back. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. No. 1149, below. 

zSy For colic, hold the victim by his feet and let his head hang 
down. 

Mary L, Walker, Durham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt. Nos. 2702 a%^a 
Cf. No. 1 147, below. ^^^ 

288 To cure a three-weeks colic, scrape off the inside of the 
father's hatband and make a tea 01 it. 

Anonymous. 

289 Calamus root tea is good to give a baby when it has the 
colic. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 4342 flF Cf No 
115s, below. 

290 Gather the leaves of the catnip, boil them in water, and put 
in a little sugar. This is given to babies for colic. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. North Carolina: Bruton, 
Medicine, No. 11 — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, p. 145 (German) — 
Indiana: Halpert, Cures, p. 4 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4346 — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 25. Cf. No. II 56, below. 

291 Ground ivy is good for colicky babies. 
Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. 

292 To cure colic in babies, give them saffron tea. 
Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

293 Blow tobacco smoke into a saucer of milk and then feed 
the milk to the baby for colic. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4360 — Ozarks: Randolph, 
p. 98 (the mother squeezes a little of her own milk into a teacup. Then 
she takes a reed pipestem and blows clouds of tobacco smoke into the 
cup so that it bubbles up through the milk. When the baby drinks this 
nicotmized milk it becomes quiet at once and soon falls asleep) — Texas: 
Lewis, p. 267. Cf. No. 1175, below. 

294 For colic, blow tobacco smoke on the baby's stomach. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county, and Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort 
county. Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 38 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4361, No. 4359 (blow tobacco smoke under the baby's clothes) — Ozarks- 
Randolph, p. 98 (under clothes) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals p 74 
(under clothes) ; Smith, Folk Cures, p. 83 (under clothes). Cf No 117^ 
below. ■ • '^' 



50 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Convulsions 

295 Take the roots of the peony, cut them in a round disc, and 
string them around a child's neck to keep off convulsions. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, p. 163 (German) ; Fogel, No. 1778 (to prevent convulsions, wash 
the child with a rag that has been tied over a peony flower [German]). 
Another Pennsylvania collector, Grumbine, has supplied a clue to the 
use of the peony in the cure of the disease by calling attention to the 
fact that the child suffering from convulsions was thought to be the 
victim of some malevolent female (p. 268) ; Lick-Brendle, p. no. In 
Neiv York (Relihan, Remedies, p. 82) and Pennsylvania (Fogel, No. 
1770) a baby's baptismal water is thrown over a peony bush ; see especial- 
ly the New York item. The use of the peony in demonic ailments is 

noted in HDA vi, 1698 ff. Black, Folk-Medicine, p. 195 ; Friend, pp. 

320 f. ; Temkin, pp. 24 f . ; Hovorka-Kronfeld i, 349 f., s.v. "Pfingstrose." 

Croup 

296 To cure croup, give a child cottonseed tea. The green 
seeds have more strength than the black. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

297 Flannel worn by a baby in winter will prevent croup. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

298 Tie a piece of black ribbon around a child's neck, and it 
will prevent croup. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 806 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4378 (greased black silk ribbon). No. 4379 (black 
silk ribbon around the neck and hanging down to the stomach) ; Wheeler, 
p. 65. 

299 Take a piece of silk and tie it around the neck of a child as 
a cure for croup. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 43; 
Farr, Riddles, No. 23 — New England: Johnson, What They Say, p. 
75 (black silk cord) — Indiana: Busse, p. 15, No. 15 (black cord) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4380 (black silk string) — Osarks: Randolph, p. 
155 (piece of black silk). Cf. No. 1258, below. 

300 If a child has severe croup, wrap a silk thread around its 
throat, and it will get well almost immediately. 

S. M. Holton, Davidson county. Cf. other items hung around the 
child's neck. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1727 (leather string) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4365 (rag soaked in coal oil). No. 4372 (buckskin 
string), No. 4373 (piece of calfskin or leather) ; Wheeler, p. 65 (leathern 
string) — California: Dresslar, p. 26 (buckskin). Cf. Nos. 298 f., above, 
for other kinds of strings and ribbons. 

301 To cure croup, stand a child where he never stood before, 
and measure him. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. "Measuring" a child so as 
to enable him to outgrow a disease is not infrequently met with in folk 



SUPKRSTITIONS: BIRTH, CHILDHOOD 5I 

medicine. Virginia: Martin, No. 25 (the child was to stand by the door 
sill before sunrise, a notch was cut in the door sill, and as the child grew 
above the notch, the croup got better) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
p. 136 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4383 (stand a child against 
a tree, driving nails into the trunk just above his head. When he 
grows as high as the nails the croup will leave him). 

302 To protect a child against croup, measure the child with a 
stick, put the stick in a closet and keep it. When the child grows 
past the measure he will never have any more croup. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. No. 301, above. 

303 Cut a lock of hair off of a child who has croup, bore a hole 
in a tree, and put the hair in the hole. Do not tell anybody, and 
the child will get well. 

Cornelia E. Covington (South Carolina). Cf. South: Wiltse, Folk- 
Lore, p. 207 (essentially the same as the present item, except that the 
hair must be secured in the hole by a wooden plug, and the further point 
that the child must grow above the hole [see "measuring" in Nos. 301 £., 
above]) — Nezv York: Relihan, Remedies, p. 83 (apple tree used) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 136 (German) ; also mentioned is the 
practice of the godfather's "measuring" the child against an oak tree, 
and driving a nail into the tree with some of the child's hair (p. 136) ; 
White, p. 79. There is no prescription of secrecy in any of the references 
cited. 

304 To cure croup, stand the child with its back to a door, and 
bore a hole over its head with a gimlet. Then cut off a bit of 
the child's hair and stuff it into the hole. As the child grows up 
above the hole it is gradually cured of the croup. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Maryland: Bullock, p. 10 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Brendle-Unger, p. 136 (the child was measured against the inside 
wall of the house and some of its hair plugged into the wall. As the 
child overgrew its measurements it outgrew the affliction [German]). 

Deajness 

305 If you fire a gun near a newborn baby, it will cause deaf- 
ness. 

Green Collection. 

Eyes, Cross-Eyes 

306 It is an old custom to wash the newborn babe's eyes with 
milk from its mother's breast. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Georgia: Campbell, p. 2 (mother's milk milked into 
the eyes [Negro]) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 407 — Quebec: Marie- 
Ursule, p. 181 (French) — New York: Herzfeld, p. 985 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5050 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 138 — Nebraska: Black, p. 

16, No. 17 (cow's milk). Foster, p. 61. For the use of mother's 

milk to avert blindness, see No. 885, below. 

307 A baby must not look in a mirror, or it will be cross-eyed. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, and Lucille Massey, Durham county. 
South: Puckett, p. 344 (Negro) ; also, seeing its father in a mirror for 



52 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

the first time will make the baby cross-eyed (ibid.) — Tennessee: Rogers, 
p. 38 (looking into a mirror over the left shoulder) — Louisiana: Wil- 
liamson, No. 16 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5051 (before the child is a year 
old) — Osarks: Randolph, p. 309 — Iowa: Stout, No. 38. 

Fits 

308 If a baby looks into a mirror before it is twelve months old, 
it will have fits. 

Merle Smith, Stanly county, and two anonymous informants. 

309 If babies are allowed to see themselves in a mirror before 
they cut their teeth, they will have fits while cutting their teeth. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

310 If a baby has fits, put its mother's wedding dress on it, and 
that will make it not have any more fits. 

Edna Whitley. 

Hernia 

311 To cure hernia (rupture) in a young child, pass him three 
times through the split trunk of a young tree, and tie the split 
pieces together again ; if they grow together, the child will be 
cured. 

Anonymous. Cf. Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 1166 (the child 
must be passed nine times through a split dogwood tree [Pyrus Ameri- 
cana]. The operation must be performed in the presence of the parents 
before sunrise on May i. Sometimes it is said that a "maiden" dogwood 
must be chosen, a kind which grows alone and never blossoms). In 
the same province a ruptured child is passed under the belly of an ass 
three times, sunwise {ibid.. No. 104) — Nezv England: Currier, p. 

293. HDA II, 477 f . ; Radford, pp. 148 f., 183, 200, 206 f., 244; Napier, 

p. 131; Udal, pp. 252 f . ; Gallop, p. 52; Thompson, D2161.4.5. In treat- 
ments of the ritual of pulling a patient through a cleft of a tree, well 
known in Germany, there is an artist's sketch of a natural split tree, or 
Zwiescl-Baum, as it is known (Zeitschrift dcs Vereins fiir Volkskiinde li 
[1892], 81), and then an actual photograph of a young girl being passed 
through a sapling split for the purpose (ibid., xxiii [1913], 289). Cf. 
Nos. 321, 337, 828, below. 

Hives 

312 If a baby does not have the hives it will die; if tlie baby 
lives four years, it may be raised. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

313 To cure hives in infants, wash the baby between his shoul- 
ders with warm water and soap. Then make three little slits in 
the shoulder flesh with a razor. Warm a horn and put the large 
end over the slits in the skin. Put beeswax over the small end 
and make a very small hole, and close it by pinching the wax 
together. The horn will stay on until it has drawn about a tea- 



superstitions: birth, childhood 53 

spoonful of blood. Then it will fall off. It is this blood that 
causes the hives. You can see it is all dark and hard. 

Green Collection. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant ii, 140, No. 109 (cut three 
gashes in the baby's back to got three drops of blood) — Tennessee: 
Rogers, p. 24 (the skin of the child's back is cut, blood withdrawn, and 
given the child to drink). 

314 Tea made from catnip will cure hives on babies. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South Carolina: Bryant 
II, 140, No. no — Tennessee: Law, p. 99; Rogers, p. 17. 

315 The cure for hives is to give the baby catnip tea with as 
much sulphur as you can keep on the tip end of a knife. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

Indian Fire 

316 To cure "Indian fire," place the child in a cupboard or chif- 
fonier and open and close the door several times, 

Edward Dreyer (New Orleans). 

Indigestion 

317 If a child is affected with indigestion, he is given a mixture 
of lard and cane syrup, which causes vomiting. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, p. 426. 

Lice 

318 Let a lousy-headed child go out in the first May rain, and 
he will be rid of the lice. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. 

Liver 

319 For enlarged livers in children, take the child by the heels 
and shake it. 

Dorothy Vann, Raleigh. The cure employed here strongly suggests 
physical cures practiced in the case of children that are "liver growed" 
or "liver bound," a condition in which the liver is thought to have at- 
tached itself to the abdominal wall, to the back, or even to the back- 
bone. Various contortions are resorted to to wrench the liver loose, 
including passing the child through a horse collar, around the legs of 
tables and chairs, through the legs of the child's father, and the like. 
Cf. Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 48 (have the child touch its left foot 
with its right hand) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, p. 85, also p. 93, No. 47 
(under the table leg three times). No. 48 (under the table, praying while 
doing so), No. 49 (put it through a table leg, grease its stomach, and 
have someone say a charm). No. 50 (three times under the father's leg 
without speaking) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, p. 16 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Brendle-Unger, pp. 194 f. (the child was passed beneath the table 
to an assistant or made to crawl through the legs of a chair, to crawl 
forward or backward three times around the leg of the dining-room table. 



54 KORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

or the child was shaken up in being conveyed from place to place. 
Sympathetic cures include having the child crawl through a horse collar 
three times, or preferably through a warm horse collar, and passing the 
child underneath a bramble bush that has struck root at the tip [Ger- 
man]); Grumbine, pp. 276 f. (the same cures are mentioned, including 
external applications and an invocation of the Trinity. Of importance is 
the fact that an "enlarged liver" is connected with the notions about 
"liver-grown") ; White, p. 79 (pass the child backward through a horse 
collar) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, p. 2)7_ (picking children up by the 
feet and holding them head downward will keep them from becoming 
"liver bound" — Illinois: Allison, No. 146 (same as previous item) ; 
Hyatt, No. 2703 (a baby becomes liver-grown by lying continually in the 
same position, with the liver sticking to the back or some other internal 
part of the body), No. 2704 (shake the baby every morning with its 
head hanging downward). No. 2705 (swing the child back and forth 
through the air, letting someone rub the child downward from the 
shoulder blades between swings) — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 119 (a stout 
old woman grasps the baby's left hand and right foot, and twists them 
together behind its back, and then does the same with right hand and left 

foot). Cf. No. 1772, below. For curative principles involved in 

"passing through," see HDA 11, 477 ff. Cf. Thompson, D2161.4.5. 

Mouth 

320 To cure a baby when its mouth turns white inside and gets 
sore, burn the sole of its father's shoe, and mix some alum with 
it and wash the baby's mouth. 

Pearle A. Webb, Pineola, Avery county. For another medical use of 
sole leather, see No. 863, below. 

Navel 

321 When a baby has an enlarged navel, wedge open a white 
oak tree and pull him through. If the tree goes back together 
and lives the baby will live. If it doesn't the baby will die too. 
On putting a child through a tree, first observe that it must be 
early in the spring before the tree begins to vegetate ; secondly, 
that the tree must be split as near east and west as it can. 
Thirdly, it must be done as the sun is rising. Fourthly, the child 
must be stripped quite naked ; fifthly, it must be put through the 
tree feet foremost ; sixthly, it must be turned round with the 
sun, and observe that it must be put through the tree three times ; 
and next that you must be careful to close the tree in a proper 
manner and bind it up close. 

Green Collection. For a general discussion of cures effected by pulling 
a child through the cleft of a tree, and the like, see HDA n, 477 ff. 
Cf. Thompson, D2161.4.5. Cf. No. 311, above; No. 2)2)7, below. 

322 The cord of a newborn child is bound with scorched linen. 
Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill, and an anonymous informant. This 
standard obstetrical practice has not been noted in folklore literature. 

323 Apply nutmeg to a baby's cord and dress with old scorched 
linen. 

Green Collection. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 55 

324 Use seedless raisins for healing the stump of the navel cord. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2710 (cut a raisin in half and 
bind it to a sore navel with a twenty-five cent piece). 

325 Apply soot and lard to a baby's cord. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2709 (dust with the powder 
secured by pulverizing a dirt dauber's nest). 

326 TalciuH powder will heal a baby's navel cord. 
Green Collection. This is regular obstetrical practice. 

Phthisic 

327 To cure phthisic in children, have the child stand up by the 
door facing it ; measure his height by it ; make a hole at this spot 
and put a bunch of his hair in the hole, and stop it up with a 
little peg. As soon as he grows taller than this he will be well 
of phthisic. 

Pearle A. Webb, Pineola, Avery county. Cf. No. 328, below. 

328 Take the child having phthisic to a thrifty young apple 
tree ; stand the child up against the tree ; take its measure, then 
at its exact height, bore a hole in the tree with an auger. Cut 
a lock of hair from the top of the child's head. Put the lock of 
hair in the hole in the tree made by the auger ; then drive a stick 
or plug tightly into the hole in the tree, and, lastly, don't go near 
the tree for a long time. This cure used to be tried by many 
people in this vicinity [Zionville, Watauga county] and most of 
them I believe claim their children were cured of phthisic by 
this means. 

Thomas Smith, Zionville, Watauga county. This reference dates from 
1880, or before. Cf. Illinois: Smith 11, 69 f., No. 24 (the lock of hair is 
put into the hole at the height of the child, but the hole is not plugged. 
When the bark of the tree grows so as to cover the place, the baby will 
be well. No special tree is mentioned). Another closely related practice 
is to take a sourwood stick, "measure" the child with it, and hide the 
stick so the child will never see it. When the child outgrows the stick, 
the disease will be conquered (South: Wiltse, Folk-Lore, p. 207) — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 49 (the sourwood stick should be placed 
in a dry place, but no mention is made of secrecy). For further refer- 
ences to "plugging" and "measuring" for phthisis, cf. Nos. 1923 f., below, 
respectively. 

Rash 

329 To cure rash, give the baby ground ivy. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

330 Pennyroyal tea is good for baby's rash. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 



56 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

331 Tea made from rue will cure the baby's rash. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

332 To cure rash, burn red flannel and rub the ashes on the 
child's tongue. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

333 Blow inside the baby's mouth, and the rash will disappear. 

Susie Spurgeon Jordan, Brevard, Transylvania county. Cf. No. 334, 
below. 

334 Let someone who has never seen his or her father blow in 
the baby's mouth to cure the rash. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. California: Bushnell, No. 
I. Cf. No. 1963, below. 

Rheumatism 

335 A vinegar bath is good for inflammatory rheumatism in 
children. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, p. 63. 

Rickets 

336 For rickets, keep the child in the sun. 
Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. 

337 Pass a child three times through the split trunk of a young 
tree to cure rickets. 

Green Collection, and anonymous. Cf. California: Bushnell, No. 2. 

HDA VI, 902; Radford, pp. 19, 238. Cf. Nos. 311, 321, above. 

Slobbering 

338 The first time that a woman goes to draw water after her 
child is born, she must take a thimble instead of a bucket to keep 
her child from slobbering so much. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. South: Puckett, p. 335 (a thimbleful 
of water, administered to a child when it is one month old, after first 
carrying it around the outside of the house, will prevent the child from 
slobbering [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, Nos. 1927 f. (slob- 
bering in the child is determined by the amount of water carried by the 
mother after she first rises from childbed (No. 1927) or by the size of 
the vessel from which the infant drinks its first water (No. 1928) — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 87 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2796 (when a 
mother first arises from confinement, let her carry water in a thimble 
and the child will not slobber). Cf. No. 71, above. 

339 After a baby is a month old, if you will carry it a thimble- 
ful of water without spilling a drop, it will keep the baby from 
slobbering. 

G. B. Caldwell, Jr., Monroe, Union county, and Green Collection. Cf. 
No. 338, above. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 57 

340 To make a baby quit slobbering, give it snufif. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

Speech 

341 Never cut a child's hair under three years, or it will not 
be able to talk plainly. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, p. 338 (if you cut a babv's hair be- 
fore he begins to talk, he will never talk) ; ibid, (if the hair is cut be- 
fore the child is a year old, it will be tongue-tied [Negro]) Gallop, 

p. 87. 

342 For a nontalking child, let the child drink water from a 
cowbell. Talking will immediately follow. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, p. 342 (stuttering which is caused 
by tickling may be cured by giving the baby to drink out of a new 
bell [Negro]) — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 148 (tongue-tied children are 

made to drink rain water out of a new bell). Cf. Radford, p. 250 

(rain water baths) ; Laval, p. 19, No. 25 (if you give the baby little 
teaspoons full of water every day, it will learn to talk early). 

Stammering , Stuttering 

343 Tickling a child will make it stammer. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. i (tickling the 
soles of a baby's feet) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 41 — Mississippi: 
Hudson, p. 153 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 79 (before the child is a 
year old [German] ) — Illinois: Allison, No. 429 (tickling feet) ; Hyatt, 
No. 2805 (tickling feet before the child is a year old) — loiva: Stout, 
No. 7 (tickling soles of the feet [Norwegian as well as English and 
Scotch]) — Osarks: Randolph, p. 208 (under the chin) — Texas: 

Turner, p. 168 (tickling the feet). Cf. No. 346, below. Radford, pp. 

26, 240; HDA IV, 1320. 

344 If a baby gnaws a comb, the baby will stammer. 
Anonymous. 

345 If you make a child who stammers eat in the same dish as 
a little dog, that will cure the child. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). Georgia: Campbell, p. 2. 

346 Tickling a child causes it to stutter. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, p. 342 (tickling under the feet 
[Negro]) — South Carolina: Bryant i, 283, No. I (tickling on the 
soles of the feet) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 71 — Tennessee: Farr, 
Riddles, No. 112; Rogers, p. 38 (tickling the flesh of a baby) — 
Georgia: Bergen, Current, No. 58; Moore, p. 305 — Ontario: Wintem- 
berg, Grey, No. 118; Waterloo, p. 10 — Indiatia: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 
185 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2804 — Washington: Tacoma, p. 23. Cf. 
No. 343, above. HDA iv, 1320; Ploss-Renz 11, 39. 

347 If a child has an impediment of speech, that is, can't ex- 
press himself without worrisome pauses between words, a slap 



58 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

in the mouth with a dishrag during one of the pauses will cure 
the handicap. 

Green Collection. 

Stretches 

348 If baby has the stretches, pass a horse collar over the baby's 
head seven times. This cures it. 

Green Collection. For the use of a horse collar in "liver-bound" children, 
see notes to No. 319, above. 

Teething, Teeth 

349 Never let the baby wear an old person's hat while teething. 
It makes teething hard. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, pp. 344 f. (a hat belonging to a man, 
to the child's father, or elder brother [Negro]) — Tennessee: Farr, 
Riddles, No. 118 (a man's hat) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 32 (a man's 
hat) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2677 (a man's hat). 

350. Placing a hat on an infant's head will cause it to have 
trouble in cutting teeth. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, pp. 344 f. If a child puts on any hat, 
or a hat that is too large for him, teething will be hard [Negro]) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 56; No. 57 (before it is six months old) — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 50 (before it is six months old). 

351 Never put a wool cap on a baby. It will make teething 
hard. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, pp. 344 f. (if a baby puts on a 
yarn cap before it is a month old, he will have trouble in teething 
[Negro]). 

352 If a baby looks in a mirror (before he is a year old) it will 
have a hard time cutting teeth. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and five other informants in widely 
separated parts of the state. South: Puckett, p. 344 (Negro) — South 
Carolina: Fitchett, p. 360 (before his teeth have developed) — Maryland: 
Bergen, Current, No. 37 (Negro) ; Whitney-Bullock, No. 1924 — 
Virginia: Bergen, Current, No. 37 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 61 — 
Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. no (before he is a month old) ; Rogers, 
p. 38 (before the child is six months old) — Georgia: Bergen, Current, 
No. 57 (before the child is a month old) ; Moore, p. 305 (a month) — 
Neiv York: Herzfeld, p. 985 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2683 — Nebraska: 
Cannell, p. 34, No. 67 (before the child is six months old). 

353 If babies are allowed to see themselves in a mirror before 
cutting their teeth, they will have fits in teething. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. No. 352, above, for general references to looking 
into a mirror. Fits are not mentioned. 

354 Let a teething child gnaw a bear's tooth. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 59 

355 Use a bear tooth as a teething ring for teething babies. 
Take the teeth from native black bears. 

Green Collection. 

356 Tie a frog around a child's neck to make it teethe easily. 
Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. South: Puckett, p. 346 (Negro). 

357 To keep a baby from having serious trouble cutting teeth, 
rub its gums with the brains of a chicken. 

Miss Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Tennessee: Farr, Children, 
No. 52 (brains of a black hen), No. 53 (if a baby's grandmother gives 
it a black hen, the baby will not cut its teeth hard) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, p. 120 (to aid dentition, pass the comb of a decapitated 
cock through the mouth of the child before the cock is fully dead [Ger- 
man]) ; Rupp, p. 254, No. 14 (same as above) — Indiana: Brewster, 
Cures, p. 39, No. 3 (pull off the head of a black hen, and rub the child's 
gums with the bloody neck) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2672 (brains of a 
black hen). No. 3054 (if you throw away your first tooth and a chicken 
picks it up, you will get a chicken tooth). 

358 A deer's tooth is worn by teething children to assist them 
in cutting teeth. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

359 A certain bone from the head of a hog may be worn around 
the baby's neck on a red string to make the child cut teeth easily. 

Anonymous. Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, p. 14 (the "hern-zahn," 
i.e., "brain tooth" is worn suspended to a child's neck to facilitate teeth- 
ing) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2679 (the lucky bone from a hog's head). 

360 A Negro mammy kept hog's teeth on hand — not a tooth, 
but a bone irregular in shape, found in hogs. The bone has a 
hole through it. Mammy boiled it, put a bobbin through it, and 
tied it in a white muslin bag around baby's neck. She kept 
several bags and washed them carefully. A hog's tooth must 
never touch the floor, for that would prevent it from helping the 
baby teethe. Her children had no trouble. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, p. 346 (necklace of hog teeth 
[Negro] ) — Maryland : Whitney-Bullock, No. 1921 (a certain hog's 
tooth in the upper jaw tied around the baby's neck will make it teethe 
easily) — Georgia: Campbell, p. 2 (necklace of hog teeth) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 2678 (a hog's tooth, or a necklace of hog teeth). 

361 A mole's foot (paw) tied around the baby's neck will keep 
it from having a hard time cutting teeth. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and seven other informants from 
central and western counties. South: Puckett, pp. 345 f. (Negro) — 
South Carolina: Fitchett, p. 360 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1920 (the feet of living moles) — Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 55; 
Farr, Riddles, No. 25; Rogers, p. 38 (front feet) — Mississippi: Hudson, 
p. 153, No. I — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, p. 39, No. 4 (a mole's fore- 
foot) ; Brewster, Specimens, p. 363 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2684; No. 



6o NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2688 (the two front feet of a mole) — Osarks: Randolph, Osark, p. 3 

(a fresh mole's leg). Johnson, Normandy, p. 192 (a collar of mole 

skin). 

362 A mole's foot tied in a bit of rag, and suspended about a 
baby's neck, is good to chew on for teething. 

Mrs. R. D. Blacknall, Durham. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 140, No. 
119 (a little white cloth) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2687 (a little sack) ; 
Smith I, 58 (on a black string). Cf. No. 363, below. 

363 The right forefoot of a mole, if tied around a child's neck, 
will cause it to cut teeth without having any trouble. 

R. B. Edwards, Belhaven, Beaufort county. Virginia: Martin, No. 
12 (right front foot) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2685 (the right leg), No. 
2686 (the right paw of a mole sewed in a small bag). 

364 If you tie the left front foot of a mole around a baby's neck, 
it will have less trouble in teething. 

Josie Foy. Osarks: Randolph, p. 145 (left hind foot). 

365 A young rabbit's brains rubbed on baby's gums will ease 
them in teething. 

Mrs. R. D. Blacknall, Durham, and two other informants from Person 
and Durham counties. South: Puckett, p. 346 (Negro) — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 1926 (hot rabbit brains) — Tennessee: Rogers, 
p. 38 — Mississippi: Hudson, p. 153, No. 2 (skin a rabbit's head and rub 
the raw flesh on the child's gums) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
p. 119 (before the child is six months old [German]) ; Grumbine, p. 
278 (for convulsions in teething children) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 
p. 39, No. 2 (warm brains of a newly-killed rabbit) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 2692 (the brains of a wild rabbit) — Osarks: Randolph, p. 144 — 
Texas: WoodhuU, p. 24. Hovorka-Kronfeld n, 830. 

366 For teething, kill a rabbit, take the brains while warm, and 
rub them on the baby's gums, having first wrapped them in a 
white cloth. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, p. 346 (dried rabbit's brains worn 
around the neck in a black silk bag [Negro]) — Tennessee: Farr, 
Children, No. 56 (in an old sack or stocking). 

367 Put a rabbit bone around a baby's neck when he is teething. 
Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. 

368 Tie a rabbit foot around the baby's neck so that cutting 
teeth will be easy. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 
p. 228. 

369 To keep a baby from having serious trouble cutting teeth, 
rub its gums with the brains of a squirrel. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Nos. 365 f., above. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 6i 

370 Sew rattlesniike bones in a cloth, and tie around the baby's 
neck to make teething easy. 

Roby Arrowhead. New Mexico: Baylor, pp. 149 f., No. 9 (a string of 
rattlesnake bones boiled over and over [Spanish]). All the following 
references deal with rattles rather than bones. General: Knortz, pp. 127 
f. — South: Puckett, p. 346 (necklace [Negro]) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, p. 119 (rattles rubbed on baby's gums [German]) — 
Texas: Woodhull, p. 69 (let baby chew rattles, or hang three large 
rattles on a red cord around the child's neck; also place a rattle in a 
tobacco bag hung around the baby's neck) — Nebraska: Pound, p. 166 
(let the baby chew rattlesnake rattles; rattles strung around the neck, 
and also placed in a tobacco bag, as above). 

371 Put nine sillybugs around the baby's neck to prevent fever 
from teetliing. 

Green Collection. Cf. Maryland: Lee, p. iii (if a baby teethes very 
hard, tie a "sawyer-bug" around its neck, and when the bug dies the 
tooth will come through). 

372 A good bite of earthworm will cause a child to cut teeth 
without trouble. 

Carolyn Kay Root. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, p. 228. 

373 Garlic is used to make children teethe easily. 
Green Collection. 

374 If a child has teething spasms, string nine new needles on a 
thread, and put them in a bag around the child's neck. 

Ada Briggs (Nansemond county, Virginia). 

375 The gums of a teething child should be rubbed with a silver 
thimble. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 140, No. 
122 (plain thimble) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2696; Smith i, p. 58 (plain 
thimble) — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 208 (water given to a child in a 
thimble is thought to aid in its teething). 

376 A string of beads made of the pith of elder stalk, and worn 
by a teething baby, will make teething easy. 

Jane N. Ray. Cf. South: Puckett, p. 364 (beads of elderberries, or elder 
twigs [Negro]) — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 41 (necklace of elderberry 
stems) — Tennessee: Rogers, p. 38 (necklace of elder roots) — Missis- 
sippi: Hudson, p. 153, No. 3 (a spray of alderberries [sic] worn around 
the child's neck) — Illinois: Smith i, p. 58 (necklace of elderbush joints) 
— Osarks: Randolph, p. 144 (necklace of elder twigs dyed brown in 
possum grease) — Texas: Hatfield, p. 158 (string of beads made from 
elderberry stems) ; Turner, p. 168 (beads made of elderberries). 

377 If you make nine beads out of Jerusalem root, and string 
them around the baby's neck, he will cut teeth easily. 

J. T. Carpenter, Durham county. 



62 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

378 To keep a baby from having a hard time cutting teeth, 
string some rattle reed around the child's neck. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

379 Teething will be easy if beads are made from the salve of 
"tread-salve" roots. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, p. 346 ("tread-saft" [horse nettle]). 

380 Children wear coral beads for teething. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, p. 346 (six plain buttons strung 
around the child's neck [Negro]) — Illinois: Wheeler, p. 64 (amber 
beads). HDA v, 239. 

381 As an aid in teething, find the child that has never seen its 
father and persuade him to blow his breath into the mouth of 
the teething youngster. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. HDA iv, 1314 f. (toothache). 

382 If you count your teeth, they will fall out. 

William B. Covington, Scotland county, and an anonymous informant. 
Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 68 (bad luck) — Tennessee: Farr, Children, 
No. 57 (teeth will decay) ; Farr, Riddles, No. 252 (if you open your 
mouth when you kill a thousand-leg, it will count your teeth and cause 
them to drop out) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2800 (unlucky). 

383 If one, after he has pulled a tooth, does not put his tongue 
in the place from whence the tooth came, a gold tooth will come 
in that vacant place. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county, and five other informants from 
the central counties. Nezv York: Bergen, Ctirrcnt, No. 94 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Phillips, p. 170, No. 117 — Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 94 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3066; Wheeler, p. 64 — Ozarks: Randolph, p. 145 — 
Texas: Bogusch, p. 124. 

384 If a child drops one of his recently pulled teeth through a 
crack in the floor, and then keeps his tongue out of the place 
from which the tooth came, he'll grow a gold tooth. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. 

385 When one of your baby teeth comes out if you will put it 
on a piece of charcoal and go out and throw it over your right 
shoulder, your second teeth will be good. 

Mr. Fairley. South: Puckett, p. 347 (the teeth shed were put into a 
corncob and flung over the house [Negro]). 

386 When a child loses a tooth, have him throw it over the left 
shoulder so that the successor will come in straight. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 140, No. 
127 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 314 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3051 (throw an 
extracted tooth over your right shoulder and another tooth will grow 
in its place), No. 3052 (cast a pulled tooth over your shoulder, without 



superstitions: birth, childhood 63 

watching to see where it goes, and a straight tooth will grow in its 
place ; but if you turn around and look, the new tooth will come in 
crooked) — New Mexico: Moya, p. 76, No. 30 (the child should throw 
the tooth in the direction of the sun in order to get a better one 
[Spanish]). Leland, p. 26 (tooth thrown into hollow tree). 

387 If you pull one of your teeth, put it under your pillow that 
night, and the fairies will change it to money while you sleep. 

Crockette Williams, eastern N. C, and three other informants. In 
none of the references given is there mention of a fairy. Kentucky: 
Thomas: No. 69 (five-cent piece) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 3060 flf. 
(a dime ; a nickel ; a piece of money, respectively) — Washington: 
Tacoma, p. 22, (five-cent piece). Cf. No. 3388, below. 

388 If a child pulls a tooth, and puts it under his pillow, a 
mouse will carry off the tooth and leave a dime. 

Green Collection. Also an entry from Edward Dreyer of New Orleans, 
Louisiana. This item embodies the popular belief in the exchange of 
the extracted tooth for a coin, as expressed in No. 387, above, and also 
folk notions of the mouse as a helpful agent in teething. The Brown 
Collection apparently lacks verbal charms in which a mouse is invoked 
to exchange the extracted tooth thrown into its hole for a new tooth. 
These are found from certain other parts of the United States, and are 
well known in most parts of Europe. 

389 Some say it is dangerous if dogs step on an extracted tooth 
which has been thrown in the yard. 

Green Collection. Cf. Nos. 390 flF., below. 

390 When a tooth is pulled, you must bury it under a rock, for 
if a dog steps (walks, runs) over it, a dog tooth will come in its 
place. 

O. W. Blacknall, Kittrell, Vance county, and four other informants from 
central and western counties. South: Puckett, p. 347 (Negro) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3056 — Texas: Turner, p. 173; Woodhull, p. 62. 

391 If a child's tooth when extracted is put where a dog can 
get it, and the dog swallows it, a dog's tooth will grow in the 
child's mouth. 

Esther F. Royster, Henderson, Vance county; Martha Wall, Wallburg, 
Davidson county ; Dixie V. Lamm, Lucama, Wilson county. General: 
Knortz, p. 51 — South: Puckett, p. 347 (Negro) — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1925 (burn a child's milk-tooth when pulled out, lest a dog 
swallow it, etc.), 1540 C — Prince Edivard Island, Cape Breton, New 
Brunszvick: Bergen, Animal, No. 757 (also dog or pig) — Nezv Eng- 
land: Backus II, 196 (tooth thrown into the fire, lest a dog eat it, etc.) 
— Pennsylvania: Phillips, p. 170, No. 116 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3055 — 
Nebraska: Black, p. 42, No. 31 (cat also mentioned). 

392 If a person pulls a tooth, and a dog steps on it, a tusk will 
grow in its place. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. 



64 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

393 If you pull an old tooth, and a cat, a dog, or a hog finds it, 
the tooth that comes back will resemble the tooth of the animal 
finding it. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and the Green Collection. 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1925 — Eastern Canada and the 
United States: Bergen, No. 757 — Nebraska: Black, p. 42, No. 31. 

Thrush (Thrash) 

394 To cure a baby's thrash, wash its mouth out with a man's 
urine. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4405 (father's urine). 

395 Medicamentum and urine of the father, in equal parts, are 
used for thrash. 

Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill, and an anonymous informant. 

396 For thrush, catch a toad (spring frog), cut a small place on 
its back and let the baby suck it. 

Anonymous. 

397 If, when a baby has the thrash (or any kind of sore mouth) 
its father will kill a rabbit and rub the rabbit's brains in the 
child's mouth, it will be cured, and the baby will never have any 
more "sore mouth." If this does not work, it is a sign that the 
father does not love the baby. 

Anabel Henry, Wallace, Duplin county. 

398 To cure the thrash, tie nine sow-bugs in a rag, and fasten 
it on a string around the baby's neck. 

Green Collection. "Makes the baby 'fensive for a few days after the 
bugs die, but a shore cyore." Also reported for New Orleans by Edward 
Dreyer, who calls them "pill bugs," or "St. Anthony's pigs" (small 
crustaceans which have the power of curling themselves up in a ball). 

399 Gold root is good for thrash. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

400 Red pokeberries are good for the thrash. 
Anonymous. 

401 Use slippery elm bark for the thrash. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

402 Tansy tea will cure thrash in a baby. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

403 Let the child chew yellowroot for the thrash. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 65 

404 Teas made of yellowroot are good for thrash. 
Green Collection. 

405 Briar root bark, persimmon tree bark, grapevine root bark, 
and green sage boiled into a tea with alum and honey is cure for 
yellow thrash. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4402 (persimmon bark, sugar, 
alum only). 

406 To cure the thrash, beat green sage, and mix the juice with 
water, and sweeten with honey ; then add alum and borax. 

Anonymous. Cf. Osarks: Randolph, p. 137. Sage is used elsewhere, 
either in tea form, or rubbed into the baby's mouth. Cf. South Caro- 
lina: Bryant 11, 140, No. 117 (tea) — Virginia: Martin, No. 13 (rub 
sage leaves in baby's mouth; then hang the sage leaves in the chimney) 
— Indiana: Brewster, Cures, p. 40, No. 3 (rub the inside of the mouth 
with the under side of nine leaves of sage. Then tie the leaves up by 
the stems. When they become dry, the thrush will disappear). 

407 Give doses of honey mixed with ashes of burnt holly leaves 
for thrush. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, p. 27 (ashes from burned holly 
leaves mixed with tallow and rubbed over the body surface). 

408 Take the red of a roasted tgg, crumbled and mixed with 
alum and sugar, as a cure for thrash. 

Anonymous. 

409 To cure thrash, make a salve of the ashes of a limb of holly, 
berries and leaves, with honey, sulphur, borax, and alum. Use 
after nursing. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

410 A child may be cured of the thrash by holding it up on May 
morning, so that a ray of light from a crack may enter its mouth. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. North Carolina: Mooney, p. 98 — 
Osarks: Randolph, p. 137 (a small hole or chink in the wall, allowing the 
sunlight to steam into the child's mouth; mouth of May not specified). 

411 To keep a baby from having thrash, the father should blow 
into the baby's mouth shortly after it is born. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. Cf. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 28 
(the father, before speaking or coughing, should blow into the child's 
mouth for three mornings ; no mention that this should be done shortly 
after baby's birth). 

412 If you blow in a baby's mouth who has thrash, it will be 
cured. 

Sarah K. Watkins, Anson and Stanly counties. 



66 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

413 A person who has never seen his father can cure a child of 
thrash by blowing his breath in its mouth. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafiftown, Forsyth county, and from four other in- 
formants, three of whom reside in central and western counties. "Jim 
Gardner '11 blow in a thrash baby's mouth for ten cents," one woman 
told me. "He never see'd his daddy. The old man died before Jim 
was borned. Ef a youngun like that blows on thrash hit shore kyores 
hit." North Carolina: Bruton, Beliefs, No. 3 (a bastard) — South: 
Puckett, p. 341 (Negro) ; Duncan, p. 234, No. 7 — Virginia: Martin, 
No. 14 — Kentucky: Price, p. 32; also an item: "look in the mouth" — 
Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 30; Law, p. 99; O'Dell, Doctor, No. 26 — 
Illinois: Fox, p. 6; Hyatt, No. 4403 (breathe into the baby's mouth); 
Smith I, 58 (for thrush in the stomach, have a person who has 
never seen the baby's father, blow into the baby's rectum) ; 11, 69, No. 
23. Radford, p. 239. 

414 A baby born after the death of its father can cure thrash by 
blowing breath into the mouth of a victim for seven (nine) con- 
secutive mornings. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. In the following references, no mention 
is made of repetitive ministrations, except in the last instance. South 
Carolina: Fitchett, p. 360 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 1369a — Tennessee: 
Rogers, p. 39 (to lose its father before the child was born, caused the 
baby to have thrash without exception) — Indiana: Brewster, Ctires, 
p. 40, No. 2 (three times on three successive mornings before sunrise, 
and before the person doing the blowing has eaten). Cf. No. 418, 
below. 

415 A person who has never seen his father can cure thrash by 
blowing in the mouth of the child three times in silence and then 
once more. This can be someone born after his father's death, 
or an illegitimate child. 

Green Collection. Cf. another item from the Green Collection : Mrs. 
Morris' baby had the thrash. A man in Lillington went around a pine 
tree several times, blew his breath in the baby's mouth. On the seventh 
day of his coming, the baby was cured. 

416 The breath of a posthumous child blown upon thrush will 
cure it. 

Dorothy M. Vann, Raleigh, and Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, 

Caldwell county. Indiana: Brewster, Specimens, p. 364. Radford, p. 

192. 

417 A woman that marries without changing her name can 
blow into a baby's mouth and cure the thrash. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Tennessee: Farr, Children, 
No. 67; Farr, Riddles, No. 40; Farr, Children, No. 65 (a woman who 
has never seen her father can cure thrash by blowing her breath into a 
baby's mouth) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4404 (same as preceding item). 

418 The seventh son of a family can cure thrash. Merely give 
the man the child's name and age. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and Green Collection. Tennessee: 
Farr, Riddles, No. 29 (seventh child) — Illinois: Allison, No. 79- 



superstitions: birth, childhood 67 

(seventh son) — Texas: Woodhull, p. 69 (let a seventh son blow three 
times in a child's mouth before sundown and before sunup). All the 
references cited above call for blowing into the child's mouth. The 
following two Tennessee items, both from Farr, Children, merely refer 
to the curative powers of "the seventh son of a seventh son" (No. 64), 
or the "seventh girl in a family" with respect to thrash (No. 68). None 
of tlie references cited can be cured in absentia by the mere inquiring of 
the name and age of the child, as in the present item. 

419 Thrash doctors carry the thrash away, receiving the child's 
name and age. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Ozarks: Randolph, 
p, 136 (some power doctors cure thrash without blowing into the child's 
mouth ; they even profess to do it at great distance, by mail or over the 
telephone). For Tennessee faith cures, see Rogers, p. 58. 

420 To cure thrash, take a baby to a stream when some corpse 
has crossed, and wash the baby's mouth. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. This remedy, unique in 
America, involves the sympathetic principle of "washing away" the 
disease. A baby carried across a stream before it is three days old, 
for instance, will not contract thrash {Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 69; 
Farr, Riddles, No. iii). Cf. Radford, p. 239. 

IV hooping Cough 

421 A father was observed passing his Httle son under a donkey 
and lifting him over its back a certain number of times, with as 
much solemnity and precision as if engaged in the performance 
of a sacred duty. This done, the father took a piece of bread 
cut from an untasted loaf which he offered the animal to bite at. 
The donkey took hold of the bread with his teeth, and the father 
severed the outer portion of the slice from that in the donkey's 
mouth. He next clipped ofif some hairs from the neck of the 
animal and cut them up and mixed them with the bread, which 
he crumbled. He offered this food to the boy who had been 
passed around the donkey and he now ate it while the animal 
was removed. The father when asked the meaning of all this 
informed all that "it was to cure his son's whooping cough, to 
be sure !" 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Radford, pp. 104, 257 f . ; Black, p. 86; Udal, p. 
224 ; Foster, p. 59. 

422 Along Broad and Green rivers to the southwest of Ruther- 
fordton and along the county line of Rutherford and Polk coun- 
ties there is a belief among the Negroes and some of the whites 
that if a baby is allowed to sit in the hopper of a gristmill while 
the mill grinds a half bushel of corn, it will make the baby im- 
mune to whooping cough. 

R. D. Gray, Rutlierfordton, Rutherford county, and Mrs. Gertrude Allen 
Vaught, Alexander county. Pennsylvania: Owens, p. 125. 



68 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

423 Children can be cured of whooping cough by inhaling am- 
moniacal fumes at the gas works. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Phillips, p. 163, No. 11 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4413 (take a child with whooping cough to the city "gas 
house" and carry it through the building several times). 

424 To cure whooping cough, tie a silk cord around the child's 
neck. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Cf. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1727 (a leather string with five knots in it worn around the 
child's neck) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4422 (a black velvet band). Cf. 
No. 2707, below. 

Worms 

425 Brown sugar and sentinine is used as a cure for worms in 
infants. A laxative is taken afterwards. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

426 The rue, a yellow-flowered shrub with a bitter taste, was 
used as a worm medicine for small children. They were made 
to chew the bitter leaves and stems for the juice. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. Cf. Radford, p. 262. 

Miscellaneous 
School 

427 The first lizard you see sitting in the spring is a sign that 
you will be lazy. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. 

428 The first lizard you see running in the spring is a sign that 
you'll be smart. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. 

429 If you kill the first lizard you see, it is a sign that you are 
going to be smart that year. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

430 Never write on the first sheet of a pack of paper. If you 
do, your work will be poor. 

Rubye Fogel (New York). 

431 If you drop your book, you will have a bad lesson, unless 
someone else picks it up for you. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and five other in- 
formants from central and western counties. Maryland : Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1395 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 55 — Mississippi : Hudson, 
p. 149, No. 2 (you will make a bad grade in the course). In Kentucky: 



superstitions: birth, childhood 69 

(Thomas, No. 91) and Washington the opposite effect is achieved, 
namely, the child whose book is picked up for him will miss the lesson 
(Tacoma, p. 23). In the following references, no mention is made of 
picking the book up, but to the fact that, unless otherwise noted, the 
lesson will be "missed." South Carolina: Bryant n, 147, No. 76 — 
Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 1275 (you will make mistakes in your 
lessons) ; Knortz, p. 142 (the child will give the wrong answers) — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 54 — Illinois: Allison, No. 543 (bad lessons). 

432 To prevent bad luck after dropping a school book, kiss it. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and two other informants from central 
counties. South: Duncan, p. 236, No. 5 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 89 
— Tennessee: Frazier, p. 41, No. 36 — Alabama: Knortz, p. 142 — 
Washington: Tacoma, p. 23. 

433 If a person drops his book before going to class, he will 
miss his lesson if he doesn't kiss the book. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county, and four other informants from 
widely scattered parts of the state. Alabama: Bergen, Current, No. 1276. 

434 If you drop a book, you will miss that lesson unless you 
kiss the pages at which it opened. 

Green Collection. 

435 If a school book is dropped, and is not stepped on, the 
possessor of the book will fail in his or her lesson that day. 

R. B. Edwards, Belhaven, Beaufort county. South: Puckett, p. 463 
(stamping the book — apparently with the feet; not as in "stamping" a 
white horse, etc. [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1395 — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 93, No. 90 (stamping it). No. 92 (walking 
around the book) — Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 8; Farr, Riddles, 
No. 60; Redfield, No. 354 (good luck if someone else steps on it and 
picks it up) — Texas: Turner, p. 157 — Washington: Tacoma, p. 23 
(also stamping the book, and walking around it). 

436 Put a stick in your book, and you can walk a foot log with- 
out becoming dizzy. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

437 Stepping on the cracks of paving stones means that you 
will fail in your lessons. 

Mary L. Walker, Durham county. Maryland: Bullock, p. 9 (stepping on 
the car track, not over it, is a sign you will miss your lessons) — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 423 (cracks in paving stones) — Ozarks: Randolph, 
p. 63 (a boy who fails to "miss the cracks" in the schoolhouse steps will 
fail in his lessons that day) — California: Dresslar. p. 94 (stepping on a 
certain stone on the way to school insures good luck). 

438 If you sleep with your books under your pillow, you will 
know your lesson the next day. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 
147, No. 74 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1483 — Tennessee: 
Farr, Children, No. 9 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 94 — Pennsylvania: 



JO NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Fogel, No. 1920 (to learn something by heart [German]) ; Grumbine, p. 
284 — Illinois: Allison, No. 277 (to help memorize a selection) ; Hyatt, 
Nos. 5828 ff. — Iowa: Stout, No. 131 1 — California: Dresslar, p. 137 — 
Washington: Tacoma, p. 22. HDA iv, 13 17. 

439 If you sleep with your book under your head the night be- 
fore an examination, you will pass successfully. 

Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 147, 
No. 75 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 53. 

440 A girl will have good luck on examinations if she wears 
the same dress to every examination. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. North Carolina: Folk-Lore XLix 
(1938), 167 (if one goes unshaved and without changing clothes for a, 
week prior to the final examination, he will make good grades [Universi- 
ty of North Carolina]). 

441 Put a willow leaf in the book that you are to pass an ex- 
amination on, and you will surely pass. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

442 If you sleep in school, you will be unfortunate. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

443 Sleeping in school means that you will die a blockhead. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

Speaking in Unison, Rhyming 

444 When a person makes a rhyme accidentally, if he will make 
a wish, it will come true. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 451; Wintemberg, 
Waterloo, p. 26 — New York: Bergen, Current, No. 454 (rhyme re- 
peated before the wish) — Indiana: Busse, p. 26, No. Zi (make a wish 
and kiss your hand) — California: Dresslar, p. 96 (make a wish before 
saying anything more). Addy, p. 100. 

445 Two people saying the same thing at the same time should 
make a wish, and it will come true. 

Paul O. Hudson, Mooresville, Iredell county. Tennessee: O'Dell, 
Superstitions, p. 6 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 73 (they should pinch 
each other and make a wish) — Nezv York: Gardner, No. 341 — 
Pennsylvania: Phillips, p. 167, No. 69 — Illinois: Allison, No. 486 — 
California: Dresslar, p. 89. Addy, p. 78. 

446 If two people say the same thing at the same time, the first 
one to make a wish will get it. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, p. 461 (Negro). 

447 If two people speak the same thing at the same time, and 
join hands to make a wish, it will come to pass. 



superstitions: birth, childhood 71 

S. M. Davis, White Hall, Bladen county. Cf. South: Puckctt, p. 461 
(one must kiss his hand five times and make a useful wish for each time 
[Negro]). 

448 When two people say the same word, they should join two 
fingers and make a wish, and the wish will come true. 

Ruth Holt, Graham, Alamance county, and anonymous. Cf. California: 
Dresslar, p. 89 (fasten fingers and make a wish). 

449 When two people say the same thing at the same time, if 
they lock (hook) their little fingers together and make a wish, 
it will come true. 

Dixie V. Lamm, Lucama, Wilson county, and ten other informants from 
widely separated parts of the state. General: Patten, p. 140 — South 
Carolina: Bryant i, 290, No. 9 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1506 
(secrecy of wish) — Kentucky: Price, p. 37; Thomas, No. 192 — 
Tennessee: Redfield, No. 375; Rogers, Wish, p. 40, No. 17:4, ibid., 
17:2 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 74 (make a wish, and cut it [for 
cutting, see Kentucky: Fowler, No. 193a]) — Illinois: Allison, No. 
393 (wish not mentioned) ; Hyatt, No. 6607; Wheeler, p. 61 (both re- 
main silent until a question is asked by a third person) — lozva: Stout, 
No. 245 (wish something secretly [Norwegian]) — Ozarks: Randolph, 
p. 89 — Nebraska: Cannell, p. 41, No. 5 (before either of them says a 
word) — California: Dresslar, p. 89 (wish before speaking) ; Mills, p. 
44. Addy, p. 95. 

450 Whenever two people happen to say the same thing at the 
same time, they must back their little fingers and make a wish 
before speaking. 

Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh, and three other informants from 
eastern and western counties. 

451 If you say something at the same time as someone else, put 
your right thumb on theirs, and each give a poet's name and 
wish something. This done, the wish will come true. 

Laurice Gwinn Chambliss, Wilson, Wilson county. Nezv York: Beckwith, 
College, No. 176a [see also b. and c. for variations] — Illinois: Norlin, 
p. 214, No. 91 — California: Dresslar, p. 89. 

452 When two people say the same thing simultaneously, if they 
hook little fingers and make a wish, then say the name of some 
great poet, the wish will come true. Never say "Shakespeare" 
— he shakes you ofif. Be sure not to say "Longfellow," either, 
as that will cause your wish to be a long time in coming. 

Louise Bennett, Middleburg, Vance county, and nine other informants 
from widely separated localities. The variations are too extensive to 
give in the notes; consult the references themselves. Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 443; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 255 — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, 
No. 452 — Indiana: Busse, p. 26, No. 32 (little finger not specified) — 
Texas: Turner, p. 164 — Nebraska: Cannell, p. 41, No. 7 — California: 
Dresslar, p. 89. 



^2 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

453 When two people speak some word at the same time, they 
should hook little fingers together and each make a wish, re- 
peating "pins," — "needles," and the wish will come true. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and two other in- 
formants from central and western counties. Variations too extensive 
to cite here; consult the original sources. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 
374; Rogers, Wish, p. 39, No. 17:1 — Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 
162 (ends: Roosevelt — Hoover) — lozva: Stout, Nos. 244, 246 — 
Osarks: Randolph, p. 335 — Nebraska: Cannell, p. 41, Nos. 6, 8; 
Nebraska Proverbs 11, p. 7 — California: Dresslar, pp. 89 f. 

454 When two people say something at the same time, they 
must, without saying anything, hook little fingers. Silently they 
wish, then one says : 

I St: "Needles!" 

2nd : "Pins !" 

I St: (Some author) 

2nd: (Some other author) 

Both : "Cut this in two. 

Our wish will come true." 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. None of the following references con- 
tains the "cut this in two" injunction. For cutting, see the notes to 
No. 449. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 193 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 
71 — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 1610 f. As in Nos. 453 f., above, variations 
are not given. 

Finding Lost Objects 

455 If you dream of finding something that you've lost, and 
the place where you lost it, you will find it there. 

Anonymous. 

456 To find anything lost, throw another object like it in the 
same direction. Finding the latter will aid in finding the first. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. no (shut your eyes and turn 
around several times before throwing the "retrieving" object) — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 483; Wintemberg, Waterloo, p. 26 — New York: Beckwith, 
College, No. 114 — Illinois: Folk-Lorist i, (1893), 157 (if one of a 
pair or set is lost, the other, or mate, must be thrown into the air, 
when it will fall in the direction of the lost article) ; Hyatt, No. 8470 
(dropping another piece of money to find the first). 

457 To find any lost object, spit in your hand, strike it with 
the forefinger, and the most prominent of the flying drops of 
saliva will indicate the direction of the lost article. 

Doris Overton, Greensboro, and five other informants from widely 
scattered localities. General: Knortz, p. 132 — South: Puckett, p. 324 
(Negro) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1575 — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. in — Tennessee: Frazier, p. 47, No. 15 — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 359 — Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 66 — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1992 (German) — Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 156 — 
Illinois: Folk-Lorist i, (1893), 157; Hyatt, No. 8463 — Texas: Turner, 



superstitions: birth, childhood 73 

458 To find a lost article, spit in the hand three times, and pop 
it with your finger each time. The lost article is in the direction 
in which the spittle flies the last time. 

M. I. Pickens, Charlotte. 

459 To find something that is lost, spit in the palm of your left 
hand, and pop it with the forefinger of the right hand. The 
spittle will fly in the direction of the lost object. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and W. H. Smith. Missouri: 
Bergen, Attimal, No. 91 (while striking the spittle with the right fore- 
finger, the person says : "Spit, spit, I've lost my pin, / Tell me what 
corner I'll find it in" [Negro]). Although they do not fulfil all con- 
ditions of this item, I am nevertheless citing verbal charms used in con- 
nection with this "finding" ritual: Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1576 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 112 — New Hampshire: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 89 — Massachusetts: Bergen, Animal, Nos. 88 (for finding 
a bird's nest). No. 90 — Iowa: Stout, No. 1339 — Nebraska: Cannell, 
p. 46, No. 46; Odell, p. 222, No. 11. 

460 When an object is lost, the person who lost the object spits 
inside of his right hand and hits the spot with his left forefinger, 
causing the spit to splatter. Every which way the spit goes, the 
object will be found. 

Joseph E. Kanipe, Asheville, and Annie Hamlin, Durham county. 

461 When looking for a lost article, ask a daddy longlegs in 
which direction the article is in. He will raise a leg in that 
direction. 

Robert E. Long, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. California: Dresslar, p. 
51. For the help of a daddy longlegs in finding straying cattle, see No. 
761 1, below. 

Whipping, Punishment 

462 If your back itches, it's a sign you are going to get a 
whipping. 

Ruth Holt, Graham, Alamance county, and an anonymous informant. 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 974 — Pennsylvania: Shoemaker, p. 8 (if a girl 
gets up with a backache, she will get a britching [spanking] before she 
goes to bed) — Illinois: Hyatt; No. 3321. 

463 Wear two hats, one on top of the other, and you will get a 
whipping before tomorrow. 

Duo K. Smith, Houstonville, Iredell county. South: Puckett, p. 430 
(Negro) — Kentucky: Thomas, Nos. 2097 f. (double-whipping [No. 
2098]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3651. 

464 If a little girl dreams of holes in her stockings, she will 
surely get many whippings soon. 

Mabel Ballentine, Raleigh. 



74 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

465 If you spill salt, you are sure to get a whipping. 

Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham county. General: Knortz, p. 139 
(will get blows) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1348; No. 1351 
(if you spill salt and don't burn some of it, you will be whipped before 
the day is out) — Mississippi: Hudson, p. 150, No. 17 — - Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 7720 (a whipping before night) — California: Dresslar, p. 
10. 

466 If a child spins a chair around on one leg, it will get a 
whipping before night. 

Green Collection, Merle Smith, Stanly county, and an anonymous in- 
formant. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1632 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 587 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 7489 — California: Dresslar, p. 52. 

467 Spin a chair around in the house, and you will get as many 
licks with a switch as the number of times you spun the chair 
around. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. In the following references, no 
mention is made of the number of licks received. New York: Gardner, 
No. 263 (whirls a chair about) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 349 (to play 
with a chair [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 7502 (if a child rocks 
an empty rocking-chair, he will get a spanking before he goes to bed) — 
California: Mills, p. 45 (whirling an empty chair). 

468 If a child sings before breakfast, it will be whipped before 
night. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, p. 417 (singing before sunrise) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1887 (a whipping before the week is gone) — 
New Hampshire: Bergen, Current, No. 1319 — Pennsylvania: Shoe- 
maker, p. 9 (if a girl sings while getting the breakfast ready, she will 
get a britching [spanking] before the week is over) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 3109 (singing at the table; no time limit mentioned), No. 3107 (a 
beating before the end of the week) — Ozarks: Randolph, Ozark, p. 17. 

469 If you sing in bed, you'll get a whipping. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3095, 
No. 3096 (a spanking next day) — Ozarks: Randolph, Ozark, p. 17. 

470 Dreaming of muddy water is a sign of being punished soon. 
Ruth Holt, Graham, Alamance county, and an anonymous informant. 

Making Crosses, etc. 

4yi A cross drawn on the ground between a croquet ball and 
the object to be hit will spoil any success. 

Green Collection. Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 91. Compare 
the practice of a child's crossing his fingers in a game to take time out 
(Nebraska: Erickson, p. 153), or to render him immune from capture 
(Nebraska: Cannell, p. 45, No. 43). Cf. McCartney, pp. in f. 

472 If one makes a cross mark, and spits on it right in front of 
a croquet ball, the opponent will miss the play. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. 



superstitions: isikth, childhood 75 

473 The custom among children of spitting on the ground and 
crossing the feet over it when a white horse passes, stems from 
the behef that whoever does so will shortly receive a present. 
Green Collection. 

474 If one walks sixteen railroad ties without falling off, any 
wish made will come true. 

Doris Overton, Greensboro. 

475 If you blow the down off a thistle and it all flies away, it is 
a sign that your mother does not want you ; but if some of the 
down remains, it is a sign she does want you. 

Caroline Biggers, Monroe, Union county. 

476 In order to find out when your mother will need you, take 
a dandelion flower that has gone to seed. Blow on the seeds and 
the number of times you have to blow to get all the seeds off 
indicates the number of hours before she will need you. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, the Green Collection, 
and an anonymous informant. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 1181 (three 
blows upon the fluflf; if all are blown away, the child is not needed; 
otherwise he is) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 86 (all fluff blown off in one 
blow, the mother needs the child badly ; two blows, not so much ; three 
blows, not enough to cease play) — Nezv England: Johnson, JVhat 
They Say, p. 53 (if all seeds are blown off at once, the child is needed 
at once ; one hour is reckoned for each additional puff needed to clear the 
dandelion head) — Nctv York: JAFL n (1889), 148, No. 8 (if all 
seeds fly at one breath, your mother wants you) — Iowa: Stout, No. 
1348 (not needed if you can blow them all off at once ; otherwise you are 
needed) — Nebraska: Cannell, p. 36, Nos. 1-5 (various conditions) — 
Washington: Tacoma, p. 23. 

477 When you hear the whippoorwill, it is time to go bare- 
footed. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. North Carolina: 
Brewster, Customs, p. 231 — West Virginia: West Virginia Folklore 11, 
No. 3 (1952), II, No. 2. 

478 It is time to go barefooted when the dogwood blooms. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. North Carolina: 
Brewster, Customs, p. 231 — West Virginia: West Virginia Folklore 11, 
No. 3 (1952), II, No. 5 (when the lilacs bloom) — Pennsylvania: 
Shoemaker, p. 9 (when locusts bloom). 

479 Do not let children go barefooted before the first day of 
May. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. West Virginia : West Virginia 
Folklore 11, No. 3 (1952), 11, No. 3 (safe to go barefooted after Alay 10) 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4853 ("My father would always make us go 
barefooted on the first day of May. He did not care how cold it was. 
He would make us so we would not have a cold that year"). Apparently 
there was some connection between doffing flannels and going bare- 
footed, since both acts were permitted to take place on May i. In the 
former connection, cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2431 ; Price, p. 30 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4852. Cf. No. 1139, below. 



II 
HUMAN BODY, FOLK MEDICINE 

Human Body 
Hair, Beard 

480 If you have two crowns (of hair), you will eat your bread 
in two kingdoms. 

Marjorie Rea, Craven county. Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 13 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2907 (two continents) — Wyoming: Walton, 
Superstitions, 162 (two nations). In addition to these references in- 
volving "breaking bread" or "eating" it, the following items refer to 
a double crown as indicating that one will "live" in two countries, etc. 
North Carolina: Bruton, Beliefs, No. 14 (the number of cowlicks you 
have determines the number of states you will live in) — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 763 (two continents) ; No. 764 (under two 
governments) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 913 (under two governments) 

— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2906 (two countries, governments, or kingdoms). 
Finally, two crowns indicate that you will travel much: Ontario: 
Wintemberg, Grey, No. 108 — Illinois: Allison, No. 383. Cf. No. 259, 
above. 

481 Red hair is the sign of fiery temper. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant i, 290, No. 13 (hot temper) 

— Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 125 (a "spit-fire") — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 911 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 298 (quick temper) — 
New England: Johnson, What They Say, 105 (quick-tempered; spunky) ; 
cf. p. 65 (there's a good deal of "pizen" in people, especially in red- 
headed men) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 125 (a "spit-fire") 

— Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 100 (German) — Indiana: Busse, 
24, No. 29 (hot temper) — Iowa: Stout, No. 291 (hot temper) — 
Nebraska: Cannell, 32, No. 6; Nebraska Proverbs i, 2 (hot temper) — 

Washington: Tacoma, 27; 12 (violent temper) ; 16 (quick temper). 

HDA HI, 1250 ff . ; Schrijnen i, 248; Moya, 122 (red-headed persons 
connected with the devil and with Judas ; cf. P. F. Baum, "Judas's Red 
Hair," Journal of English and Germanic Philology xxi (1922), 520- 
529. 

482 If you pull a hair out of your head, and pull it tightly 
through your fingers, and it curls up, it is a sign that you are 
jealous. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. I find no references to 
"jealousy" following the prescribed practice, but a bad temper is as- 
signed to a person whose hair curls up when drawn between the fingers 
in such widely separated states as Maryland (Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1573), Massachusetts (Bergen, Current, No. 136), Kentucky (Thomas, 
No. 901), Illinois (Hyatt, No. 2934), Neiv Mexico (Moya, 75 [Span- 
ish]), and Washington (Tacoma, 27). Cf. Wessman, 15. 

483 If you get a hair in your mouth you will get drunk. 
Anonymous. 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine J"] 

484 A cowlick is a lucky sign. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2905. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
Nos, 22 ff. (German). HDA iii, 1248, s.v. "Haarwirbel." 

485 It is bad luck for two people to comb one person's hair. 
Green Collection. 

486 It is bad luck if you comb your hair after supper. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

487 It is bad luck to comb your hair after dark. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

488 Combing the hair after dark, 
Brings sorrow to the heart. 

Minnie Bryan Farrior, Duplin county, and four other informants from 
central and western counties. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 871 — Tennessee: 
Farr, Riddles, No. 65 (bad luck) — Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 288 
(count your hair after dark, count your sorrow to your heart) — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 137 — Connecticut: Knortz, 142 — Neiv York: 
Gardner, No. 210 — Illinois: Allison, No. 419 (you are forgetful if you 
comb your hair after dark) ; Hyatt, No. 2997, 2999 (unlucky) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 295 (ill luck). No. 305 (if you comb your hair after dark, 
you will have shame your face before the week-end) — Ocarks: Randolph, 
Ozark, 3 (if you use a comb after dark, it should be done in a dark room) 
— Texas: Bogusch, 122 — Nebraska: Cannell, 33, No. 38 — New 
Mexico: Baylor, 146, No. 26 (bad luck [Spanish]) — Wyoming: Wal- 
ton, Superstitions, 161 — California: Dresslar, 62. 

489 Comb your hair in the dark, 
Comb your sorrows to your heart ; 
Comb your hair in the day, 
Comb your sorrows far away. 

Anonymous. 

490 Friday's hair and Sunday's horn, 

Ye'll meet the black man on Monday morn. 

Green Collection. 

491 Friday cut and Sunday shorn, 
Better never have been born. 

Green Collection, and Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. 

Udal, 279; Wessman, 13. 

492 If, when combing your hair, you throw the dead hair that's 
left in the comb into the yard, it will cause you to have bad luck 
before you comb your hair again. 

Anabel Henry, Wallace, Duplin county, and Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, 
Garland, Sampson county. Back of the notion of bad luck, perhaps, is the 
belief that the person's hair may fall into the hands of an enemy who 
may use it to work evil upon him. Alabama: Bergen, Animal, No. 743 



78 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

(don't let anyone get any of your hair combings, or he [she] can take 
all your hair out) — Georgia: Moore, 305 (bad luck to throw hair 
out of the window) — Rio Grande River area: Berdau, 382 (bad luck 
to touch or pick up the hair of a woman which has been thrown away 
[Spanish]); Bourke, 137 (voodoos warn against throwing hairs about 
[Spanish]) — New Mexico: Moya, 64, No. 39 (bad luck to throw 
hair on the floor [Spanish]). HDA in, 1272; i, 110 f. 

493 It is bad luck for hair to be used in a bird nest. 

Eva Furr, Stanly county. South: Puckett, 400 (a woman will lose her 
hair [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 621 (hair will fall 
out) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3510 (hair will tangle) - — Ontario: 
Doering, Customs, 151 (your hair will turn white within a year if a 
sparrow gathers your hair combings) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
lOi f. (falling out [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2975 (put comb- 
ings where birds can get them for their nests). No. 2976 (hair will 
tangle). No. 2977 (good luck if birds make nests of your hair cuttings), 
No. 2979 (bad luck to have birds fly over the combings you have thrown 
away), No. 2981 (when the discarded hair rots after birds have made a 

nest with it, your hair will fall out). HDA iii, 1272; iv, 947; Le- 

land, 121 ; Wessman, 12. Cf. Nos. 1578 fT., below. 

494 It is bad luck to burn your own hair. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1528 (always burn the combings of your hair) — ■ Virginia: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 741 (be sure to burn combings [Negro]) ; Knortz, 
139 (Virginia Negroes burn their hair combings) — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 290 (your hair will fall out) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, lOi 
(hair will fall out [German]); Fogel, No. 1834 (combings should be 
burned [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2970, No. 2971 (your hair 
will fall out) — Rio Grande: Berdau, 382 (hair must be burned; if 

it is thrown on a road it will bring bad luck to passers-by). Cf. 

HDA III, 1272; Napier, 37; Storaker, Mennesket, Nos. 81, 83, 86, 88; 
Wessman, 13 (one will become bald). For the burning of hair as it 
relates to sickness, see Nos. 688, 1583, below. 

495 Cutting the hair of women brings disgrace. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

496 To shave during the month of March is bad luck. 

Vella Jane Burch, Durham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1819 
(shave for the first time at new moon if you would have a heavy 
beard) — Washington: Tacoma, 18 (if you wish good luck, never shave 
on Monday). 

Comb, Hairpins 
Af)y It is bad luck to drop a comb. 

Green Collection, Hazel Doritz, and two other anonymous informants. 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 357 — Indiana: Busse, 19, No. 26 
(dropping the comb behind you) — Illinois: Allison, No. 267 ; Hyatt, 
No. 3010 — Iowa: Stout, No. 1224 — California: Dresslar, 62. 

498 When you drop your comb, if you will put your foot on it, 
your wish will come true. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1394 
(put your foot on the comb to avert bad luck; no wish) — Kentucky: 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 79 

Thomas, No. 191; No. 2075 (no wish) — Indiana: Tullis, No. 20 
(do not pick the comb up unless you step on it) — Illinois: Allison, 
No. 482; Hyatt, No. 6499; No. 3011 (no wish) ; No. 3012 (stepped on 
three times and kissed to avert bad luck) — Osarks: Randolph, 335. 

499 If you drop a comb while you are conil)ing your hair, call 
someone to pick it up. or it will bring bad luck. 

Helen Fraser Smith. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3005 (and you will not 
be disappointed) ; No. 3013 (prevent bad luck by letting someone step 
on the comb before you pick it up) — Texas: Bogusch, 122. 

500 To drop your comb when you are combing your hair sig- 
nifies that you will soon have a disappointment. 

Louise Bennet, Middleburg, Vance county. Kentucky: Price, 36 (sign of 
trouble if the comb falls behind you) ; Thomas, No. 2073 ; No. 2074 
(trouble if the comb falls behind you) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, 
No. 284 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 303 (also a cause for shame) — 
Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 208 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3002; No. 
3004 (dropping a comb and picking it up) ; No. 3006 (step on a fallen 
comb to avert disappointment; No. 3007 (same as previous item; put 
right foot on it) — Ozarks: Randolph, 76 (disappointment; to "take 
the cuss off" the girl should count backward from ten as she retrieves 
the comb — Nebraska: Cannell, 39, No. 25. 

501 Finding a hairpin is good luck. 

F. B. Merritt, Grace McNeil, and two anonymous informants. Cf. 
Illinois: Allison, No. 533 (if you see a hairpin, pick it up for luck) ; 
Hyatt, No. 3786 — California: Dresslar, 61. 

502 Find a hairpin, make a wish, and hang the hairpin up. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 187; 
No. 2046 (hang it on a nail or anything iron; no wish) — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 69 (hang it on the first nail you see) ; No. 852 (on a nail; 
no wish) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 6518; No. 6519 (on a nail) ; No. 6520 
(rusty nail; no wish) ; No. 3790 (a nail or any iron object; no wish) ; 
No. 6521 (put it on a wire and make a wish) ; Norlin, 215, No. 113 
(rusty nail; no wish) — Texas: Bogusch, 124 (hairpins hung on a fence 
bring good luck) — California: Dresslar, 61 (hung on a tree). 

503 If you find a hairpin and wear it in your right shoe for 
three days, any wish you may make in that time will come true. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, and an anonymous informant. 

Ears 

504 If your left ear itches, it's a sign of good luck {or you are 
going to be pleased). 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county, and Mabel Bal- 
lentine, Raleigh. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3179 (good luck, if your left car 
rings) — California: Dresslar, 102 (if your left ear itches, you will cry). 

Cf. Nos. 3505 ff., below. HDA iv, 1530; vi, 1214 (both stressing bad 

luck connected with the itching of the left ear). 



80 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

505 An itching of the right ear portends bad luck. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Cf. Illinois: 
Allison, No. 414 (ringing in the right ear means good luck) ; Hyatt, No. 
3178 (ringing) ; Norlin, 211, No. 33 (if your right ear burns, it is for 
spite). Cf. Nos. 3505 ff. HDA vi, 1214 (good luck). 

506 A wad of chewing gum placed behind the left ear on Friday 
brings good luck. 

W. H. Smith. 

507 If your ear burns : The first time, you spit on your finger 
and rub it ; if it's good, let good betide you. The second time, if 
it's bad, let the devil ride you. The third time, if it's my old 
true sweetheart, "Burn ear, burn !" If it is your sweetheart, it 
will quit burning. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county. 

508 If you have big ears, you are generous. 

Julian p. Boyd. General: Bergen, Current, No. 105 — South: Puckett, 
456 (Negro) — South Carolina: Bryant i, 289, No. i (free-hearted) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 813 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 21 — 
Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 108 (if the protuberance behind the 
ear is large, it indicates generosity) — Pennsylvania: Phillips, 166, No. 
42 — Indiana: Busse, 25, No. 38 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3^43; No. 3142 
(free-hearted) — Missouri: Yoffie, 392 (Jewish) — Nebraska: Cannell, 
32, No. i; Erickson, 150, No. 10; Nebraska Proverbs i, 2. 

509 If you have very small ears, it is a sign that you are stingy. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. General: Bergen, 
Current, No. 105 — South: Puckett, 456 (Negro) — South Carolina: 
Bryant i, 289, No. i — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 812 — Ontario: 
Wintemberg, Waterloo, 21 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1394 (German) 
— Indiana: Busse, 25, No. 37 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3144 — Ozarks: 
Randolph, 328 — Nebraska: Cannell, 32, No. 2; Erickson, 150, No. 

10; Nebraska Proverbs i, 5. HDA vi, 1206 (person with small ears 

destined to be wealthy). 

510 If a bat bites you, your ears and nose will change places. 
Julian P. Boyd. 

Eyes 

511 Black-eyed people are inclined to be evil ; green-eyed, sharp 
and cunning ; blue-eyed, kind and honest ; brown-eyed, gentle 
and innocent. 

Green Collection. The following verse, quoted from Randolph, 190, treats 
of the color of a woman's eyes in relationship to her temperament and 
character : "If a woman's eyes are gray, / Listen close to what she's 
got to say ; / If a woman's eyes are black, / Give her room an' plenty 
o' track ; / If a woman's eyes are brown, / Never let your own fall 
down; / If a woman's eyes are green, / Whip her with a switch that's 
keen ; / If a woman's eyes are blue, / She will always be true to you." 
Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3185 (a black-eyed woman should not be 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 8i 

trusted) — California: Dresslar, io6 (persons with green eyes are not 
to be trusted). Gray eyes are associated with greed, particularly in 
the verse "Grey eyes, greedy gut, / Eat all the world up." (New 
England: Johnson, IVhat They Say, 49-50 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 10729; 
also No. 3188 [a grey-eyed woman is greedy]). Cf. Hyatt No. 3186 (a 
woman with blue eyes is always faithful). Wessman, 16. 

512 If your eye itches, you are going to be pleased. 

Anonymous. (There are about twenty-five items in the Brown Collection 
dealing with the eye in various "multiple" connections.) Cf. Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 20, No. 11 (good luck) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3218 (good 
luck). 

513 If your right eye itches, it is a sign of good hick (or that 
you are going to be pleased). 

Irene Thompson, Mt. Airy, Surry county ; M. L. Pickens, Charlotte ; 
and two other informants from Alexander and Sampson counties. Refer- 
ences to "being pleased" are treated in No. 514, below. South: Puckett, 
448 (jumping of the right eye [Negro]) ; cf. also p. 449 (if your mother's 
first child was a boy, it's good luck for your right eye to jump [Negro]) 

— Massachusetts: Edwards, 98 (good luck for the right eye to twitch 
[Armenian]) — Osarks: Randolph, 54 — Anonymous newspaper clip- 
ping (a quiver in the right eye means good luck). Wessman, 17. 

514 If your right eye itches, it is a sign you will become 
pleased ; but if you tell someone about it, that person will become 
pleased, and you won't. 

Julian P. Boyd. References given apply only to the first part of the 
item. South: Puckett, 448 (happiness [Negro]); cf. also p. 449 — 
Maryland: Lee, 11 1 (you will see something pleasant) ; Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 204 [Negro] — Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 15 — Tennessee: 
Carter, 3 — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 163, No. 41 (happiness [French]) 

— Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 189 (you will be glad) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 394 (you will see something pleasing [German]) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 3202 (quavering of the right eye indicates you will be 
pleased); Smith in, 20 (if the right eye jumps [Negro]) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 252 (happiness). Radford, 117. 

515 If your left eye itches, you will be pleased if you do not tell 
anyone. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Mrs. Maude Minish 
Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. The following references do not 
contain the qualifying prohibition of secrecy. Tennessee: Frazier, 42, 
No. 9; McGlasson, 23, No. i; Redfield, No. 369b — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
3203 — Texas: Turner, 158. 

516 If your left eye itches, you will be made glad. 

Carrie Lee Logum and Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham county, and nine other 
informants from widely separated localities ; also the Green Collection. 

South: Shearin, 320 — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 370a. Addy, 100 

(joy). 

517 When the right eye itches, tell the first person you see, 
make a wish, and it will come to pass. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 



82 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

518 If one's right eye itches, tell someone else, let them answer, 
"Thank you," and both will have good luck. 

Ruth Jane Trivette, Hickory, Alexander county, and an anonymous in- 
formant. 

519 It is good luck to have the left eye itch. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and Kate S. Russell. 
Roxboro, Person county. South: Puckett, 449 (if your left eye jumps, 
it is good luck if your mother's first child was a girl [Negro]) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 203 (which eye not specified) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 823 — Tennessee : Frazier, 42, No. 9 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 3220 — Ozarks: Randolph, Ozark, 17. Wessman, 17. 

520 It is a sign of bad luck for the left eye to itch. 

Irene Thompson, Mt. Airy, Surry county, and two other informants 
from Vance and Sampson counties. Anonymous newspaper clipping (a 
quiver in the left eye means bad luck) — South: Puckett, 448 (itching 
or twitching), 449 (if your left eye jumps, if your mother's first child 
was a boy, it is bad luck [Negro]) — Massachusetts: Edwards, 98 

(when the left eye twitches it is bad luck [Armenian]). Radford, 117; 

Wessman, 17. 

521 If the right eye twitches, it means laughter. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). South: Richardson, 248 (quivering of right 
eye [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 784, No. 785 
(quivers) — Louisiana: Williamson, No. 30 (twitching right eye) — 
Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 189 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3200 (jumping right 
eye) — California: Dresslar, lOi (also, if the right eyelid quivers), 105 
(if the right eye burns) — Washington: Tacoma, 25. Wessman, 16. 

522 If your left eye itches, you will laugh. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Price, 34 — Alabama: Woodall, 325 
(jumping left eye) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3199 — California: Dresslar, 
loi. Wessman, 17. 

523 If the right eye itches, it is a sign of bad luck. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South: Puckett, 449 
(if your right eye jumps, it is bad luck, if your mother's first child was 
a girl [Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 821 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
3219 — Ozarks: Randolph, 54. Wessman, 17. 

524 If your right eye itches, and you do not tell it, you'll have 
bad luck. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, and two other informants from Cald- 
well and Durham counties. 

525 There is an old sign that goes like this : "Should your right 
eye itch, you must turn immediately to some person and say: 
'My right eye itches, Rabbit foot !' " He in turn tells it to some- 
one else. The person to whom it is told, and who has no one 
to whom he can tell it, is almost sure to meet with ill luck. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county, and Edna Beasley, Louisburg, Frank- 
lin county. 



S IT P K R S T 1 T 1 i\ S : it 1) Y , !•" L K M K D I C I N E 83 

526 If your right eye itches you'll have trouble. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. South: Puckctt, 449 ("When 
yo' right eye quivvahs dat sho' means bad trubbl' ") — Ozarks: 
Randolph, 54. Cf. Georgia: Steiner, No. 72 (jumping left eye) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3206 (if your left eye bats, you will have trouble). 
Wessman, 17 (left eye). 

527 If your right eye itches, it shows that you are going to be 
displeased. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county, and Alma Irene Stone, 
Meredith College, Wake county. Wessman, 17. 

528 An itching of the left eye indicates that you will be dis- 
pleased. 

Anonymous, and Hazel Doritz. Massachusetts: Wilson, Syrian, 137, 
No. 21 (twitching left eye [Syrian]) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 
394 (you will see something disagreeable). Wessman, 17. 

529 If your right eye itches, you will surely be disappointed. 
Marie Harper, Durham county. 

530 If your left eye itches, you are going to be disappointed. 

Ruth Holt, Graham, Alamance county, and an anonymous informant. 
Missouri: Randolph, 54. 

531 If your right eye itches, you're going to be sad. 

Green Collection. Addy, 100 (sorrow) ; Wessman, 17 (distress) ; 16 

(sorrow, either eye). 

532 If your left eye itches, you will be sad about something. 

Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham county. South: Puckett, 448 (sorrow 
[Negro]) — Iowa: Stout, No. 252 (sorrow [Norwegian]). Wess- 
man, 16 (either eye). 

533 If the right eye itches, it is a sign that one will get angry. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county, and an informant from Alexander 
county; one other from an unidentified source. South: Shearin, 320 — 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 23, No. 2 (mad); Redfield, No. 369a; 370b 
(mad). Napier, 136 (vexed; specific eye not designated). 

534 If your right eye itches, if you don't tell someone about it, 
you will be made angry. 

Pearl Forbes (Tennessee). 

535 If the left eye jumps (itches), you are going to get mad. 

Eva Furr, Stanly county, and two other informants — one from Mecklen- 
burg county and the other unidentified as to place. Illinois: Smith in. 
No. 20 [Negro]. 

536 If the right eye itches, it is a sign that one will cry. 

Anonymous ; Fannie Vann, Clinton, Sampson county ; and J. T. Carpenter, 
Durham county. Kentucky: Price, 34; Thomas, No. 825 (twitching 
right eye) — Alabama: Woodall, 325 (jumping right eye) — Maine: 
Decrow, 319 (weep; also roar) — New York: Bergen, Current, No. 



84 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1348 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3197, No. 3198 (right eye burns) — Texas: 
Turner, 158 — Nebraska: Erickson, 150, No. 7 — California: Dresslar, 
Id; Mills, 44. Wessman, 16 f. (right, left, or both eyes). 

537 If your right eye itches, you will cry. Tell someone, and 
it will happen to them instead of you. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Minnie Stamps Gosney, 
Raleigh. Tennessee: Frazier, 42, No. 9. 

538 A jumping eye means tears to come. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: McGlasson, 23, No. 3 (if both your eyes 
itch, you are going to cry) — Georgia: Steiner, No. 71 (quivering eye) 
— Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 86 (when your eyes itch, you will 
weep soon) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3196 (if your eye itches, you will 
cry). 

539 If your left eye twitches, you will shed tears. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). South: Richardson, 248 (if your left eye 
dances, you will weep) — Maryland: Lee iii (itches; you will cry) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 822 ("Itching left eye / Sign you'll cry") — 
Louisiana: Williamson, No. 30 — Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 188 (itches) ; 
No. 189 (itches; cry) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 1349 
(itches; cry) — Indiana: Busse, 23, No. 8 (itches; cry) — Illinois: 
Wheeler, 61 (itches; cry) — California: Dresslar, loi (itches; cry), 
105 (if your left eye burns, you will cry) — Washington, Tacoma, 25 
(itches; cry). 

Eyebrows, Eyelashes 

540 If your right eyebrow itches, you will behold a joyful sight. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3207 (you will look at something 
pleasant) — Washington: Tacoma, 25 (twitching of the right eyebrow 
spells good luck). 

541 If your left eyebrow itches, you will see an awful sight. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3208 (you will see something 
unpleasant) — Washington: Tacoma, 25 (twitching of the left eye- 
brow spells good luck). 

542 When an eyelash is found on your face, put it on the back 
of your hand and make a wish. Then shut your eyes and try to 
blow it off. If it is gone when you open your eyes, your wish 
will come true. 

Alma Irene Stone, Meredith College, Wake county. In the three ex- 
amples cited an eyelash is found on someone else's cheek, and the 
person made to guess which side it happens to be on. If correctly 
guessed, one's wish comes true. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 61 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 6514 — California: Rumley, No. 8. 

543 When an eyelash is found on the hand, put it on the back 
of your hand and make a wish. Then shut your eyes and try to 
blow it ofif. If it is gone when you open your eyes your wish 
will come true. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 85 

Alma Irene Stone, Meredith College, Wake county, and two other in- 
formants from Durham and Alexander counties. Details in the follow- 
ing examples all vary considerably, and should be carefully compared 
with the version given here. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 175 — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 444; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 256 — Neiv York: Beckwith, 
College, Nos. 179a, 179c. 

544 Put an eyelash on the back of the hand and make a wish, 
then throw the hand back over the shoulder. If the lash falls 
off, the wish will come true ; but if it stays on, the wish will not 
come true. 

Alda Grayson, Rutherfordton, Rutherford county. Cf. Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 1505 (if you find an eyelash, make a wish and 
throw it away; the wish will come true) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
176 (put the eyelash on the left hand, make a wish and blow the eye- 
lash over the right shoulder). 

545 If you put an eyelash on the back of your hand, kiss it three 
times, throw your hand backwards three times over your shoul- 
der, and make a wish, and if the eyelash sticks to your hand, the 
wish will come true. 

Anonymous. 

546 If you put an eyelash under your finger and make a wish, 
it will come true. 

Flossie Marshbanks, Mars Hill, Madison county. 

547 Take an eyelash between the thumb and forefinger, then 
choose a finger and make a wish. If the eyelash sticks to the 
finger you have chosen, after the fingers are separated, your wish 
will come true. 

Minnie Bryan Farrior, Duplin county. Tennessee: Rogers, Wish, 38; 
No. 7:1 — Florida: Hauptmann, 18 (Spanish) — New York: Beckwith, 
College, No. 179b. 

548 Put an eyelash on the forefinger and make a wish. Press 
it against the thumb. If the lash stays on the forefinger, the 
wish will come true ; if it sticks to the thumb, the wish will not 
come true. 

Alda Grayson, Rutherfordton, Rutherford county. Cf. Tennessee: 
Rogers, Wish, 38, No. 7:2 — Osarks: Randolph, 335. 

549 If an eyelash is placed on the second finger and thrown 
three times over the left shoulder, and then disappears, one's 
wish will come true. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). 

550 Two people place their thumbs together and place an eye- 
lash between them. They wish and draw the thumbs apart. 
The one to whose thumb the eyelash clings will have ^he wish. 
Green Collection. 



86 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Nose, Sneezing 

551 Negroes who have big black perspiring noses are mean. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. South: Puckett, 457 (not specified as 
Negro). 

552 If you rub your finger on your upper lip in time, it will 
keep you from sneezing. 

Merle Smith, Stanly county. Mississippi: Hudson, 152, No. 3 (place 
the index finger of the right hand on the upper lip) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
Nos. 3277 ff. (finger in various positions on the nose). 

553 To keep from sneezing, hold your two fingers under your 
nose on the upper lip. 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county. 

554 If you sneeze three times in succession, and make a wish, 
it will come true. 

Anonymous. In all but the Pennsylvania and Iowa versions of three 
sneezes in succession, bad luck or disappointment is indicated ; in these 
two, good luck is indicated. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, Nos. 812 f. — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 363 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 444 (German) 

— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3297 — Iowa: Stout, No. 302 Kanner, 556, 

567 f. 

555 If you sneeze seven times and make the same wish each 
time, it will come to pass. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 

556 It is a sure sign of bad luck to sneeze at the table. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and Elsie Doxey, 
Currituck county. Kanner, 556, 567. 

557 It is bad luck to sneeze with one's mouth full. 
Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3295- 

558 It is bad luck to sneeze before breakfast. 

Green Collection. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1043 (if you sneeze be- 
fore breakfast you will cry before dinner and weep before supper) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3290 (cry before dinner) ; No. 3292 (bad luck to 
sneeze on three separate occasions before breakfast) — California: 
Dresslar, 95. Kanner, 562 (cry before dinner). 

559 To sneeze on Sunday morning before breakfast is bad luck. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Kanner, 568 
("Sneeze on Sunday morning fasting / You'll enjoy your own true love 
to everlasting"). In most verses like those in Nos. 561 fF., below, sneez- 
ing on Sunday is thought to put one in the power of the devil for the 
rest of the week. 

560 If you sneeze on Monday, you sneeze for joy. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 87 

561 Sneeze on Monday, sneeze for news ; 
Sneeze on Tuesday, sneeze for shoes ; 
Sneeze on Wednesday, sneeze for a letter ; 
Sneeze on Thursday, sneeze for something better ; 
Sneeze on Friday, sneeze for sorrow ; 

Sneeze on Saturday, see your love tomorrow ; 

Sneeze on Sunday, your safety seek, 

Or Satan will have you the rest of the week. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 
148, No. 99 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 165 — Nebraska: Nebraska Prov- 
erbs II, 7. 

562 Sneeze on Monday, sneeze for danger ; 
Sneeze on Tuesday, kiss a stranger ; 
Sneeze on Wednesday, sneeze for a letter ; 
Sneeze on Thursday, for something better ; 
Sneeze on Friday, sneeze for sorrow ; 

Sneeze on Saturday, see your sweetheart tomorrow ; 
Sneeze on Sunday, the devil will have you all the week. 

Doris Overton, Greensboro, and nine other informants from widely 
separated localities. South: Puckett, 453 f. (Negro) — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, Nos. 2128 f. — Kentucky: Thomas, Nos. 1037, 1039 — 
Tetmessee: Rogers, 34; Rogers, Family, 6 — Lotiisiana: Roberts, No. 
360 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 92 — Neiv England: Johnson, 
What They Say, 65 — Nezv York: Bergen, Current, No. 1429 — 
Pennsylvania: Phillips, 167, No. 71 — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 3308 f. — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 11 26 (Norwegian) ; No. 1127 — Ozarks: Randolph, 
55 — Texas: Turner, 173 — Nebraska: Cannell, 32, No. 10 — Cali- 

fornia: Lowrimore, 178; Dresslar, 72, 95; Mills, 43. Lean i, 348; 

Udal, 286. 

563 If you sneeze on Monday, you sneeze for a letter ; 

If you sneeze on Tuesday, you sneeze for something better ; 
If you sneeze on Wednesday, you sneeze for danger ; 
If you sneeze on Thursday, you will meet a stranger ; 
If you sneeze on Friday, you sneeze for sorrow ; 
If you sneeze on Saturday, you sneeze for joy tomorrow ; 
If you sneeze on Sunday, the devil will have you all the 
week. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and two other informants from 
Durham and Bladen counties. Ontario: Bergen, Current, No. 1428 
(sneezing on Wednesday usually indicates the arrival of a letter). Cf. 
No. 562, above. 

564 If you sneeze on Monday, you will get a letter on Tuesday ; 
If you sneeze on Tuesday, you will meet up with an old 

friend on Wednesday ; 
If you sneeze on Wednesday, it will be a long time in a 
country. 

Autie Bell Lambert, Stanly county. 



88 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

565 If you sneeze on Monday, it is for wealth ; 
If you sneeze on Tuesday, it is for health ; 

If you sneeze on Wednesday, it is for a letter ; 
If you sneeze on Thursday, it is for something better ; 
If you sneeze on Friday, it is for sorrow ; 
If you sneeze on Saturday, it is to see your sweetheart 
tomorrow. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. North Carolina: Brew- 
ster, Customs, 249 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1035 — Tennessee: Mc- 
Glasson, 24, No. 4; Redfield, No. 366 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3307 — 
Nebraska: Nebraska Proverbs 11, 8. Addy, 114; Udal, 284. 

Arms, Hands 

566 An ache in the left arm is a sure sign you are going to be 
blessed. 

Carolyn Kay Root, Durham county. 

567 If you strike your crazy bone, you will be disappointed. 
Rebecca Willis (Texas). 

568 The shape of one's hand is an indication of his character. 
Green Collection. 

569 Cold hands mean a warm heart. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 456 (Negro) — South Carolina: 
Bryant i, 290, No. 16 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 920a; Thomas, No. 
920 — Tennessee: Rogers, Family, 5 — Louisiana: Roberts, Nos. 303 f. 
— Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1940 (German) — Indiana: Busse, 24, No. 
33 — Illinois: Allison, No. 402; Hyatt, No. 3327 — Iowa: Stout, No. 
292 (Scotch) — Missouri: McKinney, 108 — Ozarks: Randolph, 171 — 
Texas: Turner, 172 — Nebraska: Cannell, 32, No. 7; Nebraska Proverbs 
I, 6 — California: Dresslar, 104 — Washington: Tacoma, 11, 26. 

570 Spitting on the handle of a work tool is not a superstition. 
It is an aid to the hand in gripping a handle. 

Green Collection. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1327 (spitting on 
the hands helps in any kind of mechanical work). According to Pliny, 
spitting on the hands gave boxers and gladiators strength (Knortz. 131). 

571 It is bad luck to cross hands behind the back. 

W. H. Smith. South: Puckett, 425 (locking your hands back of your 
head means "piling up trouble" ; this will bring bad luck to one's parents 
as well {ibid, f Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 212 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 348 (clasping hands behind the neck brings bad 
luck) ; No. 301 (never let your hands rest on your head) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 232^ (bad luck if you stand up with your hands behind 
your head) — California: Dresslar, 97 (unlucky for two hands to cross 
at the table). 

572 If the inside of the palm itches, you are going to be jileased. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 211 — Florida: Hauptmann, 24, No. i (itching 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 89 

right palm) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 3353 f- (itching left and right hands 
indicate disapointment and bad luck, respectively) — New Mexico: Moya, 
39 (itching left hand). HDA in, 1383. 

573 If the palm of the hand itches, somebody is going to give 
you something. 

Esther F. Royster, Henderson, Vance county. Cf. Kentucky: Price, 34. 

Storaker, Mcnncsket, No. 204. 

574 If your left hand itches, it is a sign that you are to receive 
a present. 

Maysie Rea, Craven county. Cf. Osarks: Randolph, 54 — California: 
Dresslar, 100. 

575 An itching of your right hand indicates a present for you. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
No. 429. Addy, 100. 

576 If your left hand itches, you will cry. 
Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. 

577 A left-handed person owes the devil a day's work. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. North Carolina: Whiting, 363, s.v. "Left- 
handed" — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 930 (three days' work) — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 314 — Texas: Turner, 174. 

Fingers, Fingernails 

578 If your thumbs are short, it is a sign of jealousy and anger. 
Anonymous. 

579 If the thumb is very clumsy looking, it's a sign that the 
person is stingy. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Ozarks: Randolph, 328 
(if in repose a man's fingers are so close together that one cannot see 
light between them, it's a sign of stinginess). 

580 It is bad luck to point at anything. 

Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. Cf. South: Puckett, 433 (never let a 
very old person point his finger at you, unless you are simply courting 
trouble [Negro]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3385 (if anyone points a finger 
at you, you will have a mishap before the end of the day) ; No. 3386 (if 

you point at someone, it will give him bad luck for two weeks). 

Filipino, No. 5 (if you point your finger at the rainbow, your hand will 
be cut off). 

581 To point the index or dog finger of the right hand at a 
person will give that person bad luck. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and four other informants from 
widely separated localities. Pointing with the so-called "dog finger" 
brings bad luck, no doubt, because of its association with the "conjure 
finger." Cf. Puckett, 46; cf. also No. 800, below. 



90 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

582 The white spots on the fingernails of the first finger indi- 
cate crosses. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

583 White spots on the second finger indicate wishes. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

584 If you have white spots on your thumb, you'll receive a gift 
soon. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. General: Patten, 140 — 
South: Puckett, 457 (a gift [Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 966 
(middle finger: presents) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, Nos. 99 f. — 
New England: Johnson, What They Say, 48 f. (middle finger) — New 
York: Barnes, No. 84 (middle finger: present) — Ohio: Bergen, 
Current, No. 119 (third finger) — Illinois: Allison, No. 384; Hyatt, 
No. 3396 (middle finger: presents) — Ozarks: Randolph, 66 — Cali- 
fornia: Dresslar, 104 (little finger: presents to come). Storaker, 

Mennesket, No. 10 (ring finger). 

585 If you have a spot on your thumb, you will experience a 
loss of some kind. 

Anonymous. 

586 White specks on the fingernails show the number of pres- 
ents you will receive soon. 

Green Collection. In the following references, only the Wintemberg, 
Hyatt, and Dresslar references specify the number of spots as indicating 
the number of presents to be received. South: Puckett, 457 (white 
specks under the third fingernails indicate gifts [Negro]) — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 775 (white spots on the third finger) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, Nos. 443, 965 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 316 (spots on middle 
finger) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 170, No. 258 (French) — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 156 (middle finger) ; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 21 — Massa- 
chusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 116 (you get the present when the 
spot grows to the end of the nail and is cut) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
No. 368 (you will receive a Christmas present for each white spot on 
your fingernails [German]); PhilHps, 166, No. 39; Shoemaker, 10 
(white spots on the fingernails as they grow out means you will re- 
ceive gifts) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3394 — Nebraska: Cannell, 33, 
No. 34 (middle finger) — California: Dresslar, 106. 

587 The placing of a fingernail under a doorstep brings good 
luck. 

Dr. Blair, Union county. 

588 Never clean your fingernails before retiring, for some 
dreadful misfortune will surely befall you. 

Alma Irene Stone, Meredith College, Wake county. South: Puckett, 
403 (long discussion connecting dirt under the nails with the accumula- 
tion of property) — IVashington: Tacoma, 29. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 91 

589 Some old people let the nails of their little fingers grow 
very long, and they called it "a luck nail." 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. 

590 If you trim your nails at night, it is a sign that you will 
have ill luck. 

Maysie and Marjorie Rea, Craven county, and an anonymous informant. 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 1062 — Massachusetts: Wilson, Syrian, 137 
(if a person cuts his fingernails in the evening, he will have bad luck 
[Syrian]). Storaker, Menncsket, No. 76. 

591 If you cut your nails on Monday, you will secure a present 
during the week. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2705 (Monday morn- 
ing before breakfast) — New York: Gardner, No. 367 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 341 1, Nos. 3409 f. (Monday before breakfast) — California: Mills, 
44 (Monday morning before eating). Laval, 19, No. 26. 

592 If you get up on Monday morning and trim your finger- 
nails before speaking, you will get a gift before the week ends. 

Green Collection. Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 1437 (instead of 
"without speaking," there is substituted "without thinking of a red fox's 
tail") — California: Mills, 44 (without speaking or thinking of a red 
fox's tail). If you think of a white calf's tail, the charm is broken 
(ibid.). For a further discussion of this belief, see Patten, p. 140. 

593 If you cut your fingernails every Wednesday morning 
before the sun rises, you will have good luck. 

Anonymous. In the following two examples, good luck is indicated 
from cutting the fingernails on Friday, but no time of day is specified. 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2709 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3413. 

594 It is good luck to trim the fingernails on Friday. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South: Puckett, 403 
(Negroes say that it is bad luck to cut the nails on any day but Friday, 
unless it be the first day of the month or year) — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 2171 (if you pare your nails on Friday and do not think 
of a white calf, you will have good luck) — California: Dresslar, 74. 

595 If you cut your fingernails on Friday, you will have an 
unknown sorrow. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 402 (woes or sorrow [Negro]) — 
North Carolina: Whiting, 408, s.v. "Fingernails" — South Carolina: 
Bryant i, 290, No. 17 (crosses) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
2132 (woe). No. 2132A (sorrow), No. 2173 (bad luck) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 2702 (sorrow) ; No. 2709 (bad luck) — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 1063 (do not cut nails on Friday) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 164, 
No. 58 (disappointment [French]) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey. No. 
103 (woe) — Neiv England: Johnson, What Thrv Sav, 58 (woe) — 
Massachusetts: Bergen. Current, No. 616 (bad luck) ; Bergen, Animal, 
No. 755 (the devil will make a comb of nails cut on Sunday to comb 
your hair) — Nezv York: Bergen, Current. No. 1420 (sorrow) — 
Pennsylvania: Phillips, 168, No. 72 (woe) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3414 
(bad luck) ; Norlin, 211, No. 39 (woe) — Iowa: Stout, No. 325 (woe) 



92 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

— Ozarks: Randolph, 66 (bad luck) — Texas: Turner, 155 (bad luck) ; 
173 (woe) — Rio Grande: Bourke, 137 (don't cut fingernails on Fri- 
days) — Nebraska: Cannell, zz. No. 27 (sorrow) — New Mexico: 
Espinosa, 417, No. 34 (bad luck and decidedly improper [Spanish]) — 

California: Dresslar, 74 (bad luck). Radford, 120, 126, 179; Foster, 

93; Udal, 282; Addy, 114; Wessman, 31 (never receive grace; opening 
Christ's wounds). 

596 It is bad luck to trim the fingernails on Saturday. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
2709; No. 2778 (you will have joy tomorrow) — New York: Gardner, 
No. 373 (good Iuck) — Illinois: Wheeler, 61 — California: Dresslar, 71 
(disappointment) . Udal, 282. 

597 It is bad luck to cut your fingernails on Sunday. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and two other in- 
formants from Durham and Surry counties. South: Puckett, 401 f. 
(Negro) — South Carolina: Bryant i, 290, No. 17; 11, 143, No. 47 (bad 
luck before the week is over) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2132 
(cut your nails on Sunday, you'll cut for evil) ; No. 2145 (someone will 
hurt your feelings) ; No. 2148 (bad luck all the week) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 2710 (if you trim your nails on Sunday, someone will catch 
your clothes down before the end of the week) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 
21, No, 36 (bad luck to cut or file the nails) ; Redfield, No. 257 (trouble 
all week) — Alabama: Woodall, 325 — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 164, No. 
59 (disappointment [French]) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 22, No. 104 
(you must not cut your fingernails on Sunday) — Ontario: Wintemberg, 
German 11, 88; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 20 — Pennsylvania: Sener, 243 

— Iowa: Stout, No. 237; No. 1121 (bad luck before the week is over) — 
Osarks: Randolph, 66 (unlucky) — Texas: Turner, 173 (if a person 
trims his fingernails on Sunday, he will do a wicked deed every day of 

the week) — California: Dresslar, 71; Lowrimore, No. i. Hewett, 

45; Foster, 93; Addy, 114; Radford, 120, 179; Wessman, 30 f. 

598 If you cut your nails on Sunday, you'll be made ashamed 
before the day is over. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. South: Puckett, 402 (Negro) 

— Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2148 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 
1065 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 139 (ashamed before night) — New 
England: Johnson, What They Say, 58 (ashamed before the week is out). 

— New York: Gardner, No. 364 (ashamed before the week is over) — 
Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 296 (ashamed before the week is out [Ger- 
man]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3418 (to cut your fingernails on Sunday 
will make you blush before the day is gone) — loiva: Stout, No. 308 
(ashamed before Monday) ; No. 312 — Nebraska: Cannell, 33, No. 30 
(you will do something during the week that you will be ashamed of) — 
California: Dresslar, 71 (ashamed before the week is out). 

599 If you trim your fingernails on Sunday, you'll be ridiculed 
during the day. 

Ethel Hicks Buffaloe, Oxford, Granville county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
3417 (clip your fingernails on Sunday, and evil stories will be told 
about you throughout the week). 

600 It is bad luck to cut your fingernails on Sunday, for the 
devil will be after you all the following week. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 93 

Lucille Cheek, Qiatham county. Cf. South: Puckett, 401 (will have 
you all the rest of the week [Negro]) ; 556 (you will spend the rest of 
the week with Satan [Negro]) — Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 195 
(the devil will get you) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3419 (the devil will be in 
you [have you; seek you] all week) ; No. 3470 (will possess you through 
the week) — Ioti<a: Stout, No. 325 (will have you the rest of the 
week) — Nebraska: Cannell, 33, No. 29 (will have you the rest of the 

week). McCartney, 126 (quoting Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, 

IV, III, 72 f.). Cf. Wessman, 30 f. 

601 If you cut your fingernails on Sunday, Old Scratch will be 
bothering you the following week. 

Miss Fannie Vann, Clinton, Sampson county. "Old Scratch," along with 
■'Old Ned," "The Black Man," and similar names, are favorite round- 
about ways of referring to the devil. 

602 Cut them on Sunday, your safety seek ; 
The devil will chase you all the week. 

Clara Hearne, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax county. In only the Ontario 
items of Knortz and Waugh is there verbal correspondence with the 
text ; in all other items references read : "ruled by the devil the whole 
week, that week," etc., etc. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2703 — Nova 
Scotia: Fauset, No. 368 — Ontario: Knortz, 137; Waugh, No. 138; 
Wintemberg, Grey, No. 103 — New York: Bergen, Current, No. 1420; 
Knortz, 137 — Pennsylvania: Phillips, 168, No. 72 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
3419 — Ozarks: Randolph, 66 — California: Dresslar, 73. Addy, 114. 

603 If you cut your fingernails on Sunday you'll be "all crossed 
up with Satan." 

Green Collection. Cf. New England: Johnson, What They Say, 58 
(and be all week as cross as the devil) — Massachusetts: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 755 (you must not cut your nails on Friday, or the devil 
will make a comb of them and comb your hair). 

604 A man had better ne'er be born 
Than on the Sabbath pare his horn. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 402 (English example only). Cf. North 
Carolina: Whiting, 407, s.v. "Fingernails" — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 2132A (shaves his horn) ; No. 2133 ("Friday's hair and Sunday's 
horn / You'll meet the Black Man on Monday morn") — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 2702 (". . . better never been born, than have your nails 
on Sunday shorn") — New England: Johnson, What They Say, 58 — 
Nebraska: Cannell, 33, No. 27 (. . . better that child had never been 

born) ; No. 28 (. . . will live to rue the day he was born). Radford, 

231, s.v. "Sunday" ; Udal, 282. 

605 When you cut your nails observe this rhyme : 

Cut them on Monday, you cut them for health ; 
Cut them on Tuesday, you cut them for wealth ; 
Cut them on Wednesday, you cut them for news ; 
Cut them on Thursday, for a new pair of shoes ; 
Cut them on Friday, you cut them for sorrow ; 
Cut them on Saturday, your true love tomorrow ; 
Cut them on Sunday, the devil will be with you all the 
week. 



94 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Green Collection, Julian P. Boyd, and two anonymous informants. 

General: Bergen, Ani»ml, No. 756 — North Carolina: Whiting, 407 f., 
s.v. "Fingernails" — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2702 — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 1061 — Iowa: Stout, No. 325 — California: Dresslar, 72. "Health" 
also results from cutting the nails on Tuesday ; cf. No. 606, below. 

606 Cut the nails as follows : 

Monday for wealth ; 

Tuesday for health ; 

Wednesday for a letter ; 

Thursday something better ; 

Friday no luck at all ; 

Saturday see your sweetheart tomorrow ; 

Sunday the devil will get you next week. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county; Mamie Cheek, Durham 
county ; the Green Collection ; and an anonymous informant. North 
Carolina: Whiting:, 408, s.v. "Fingernails." Cf. Nciv England: Johnson, 
What They Say, 58. Usually, however, cutting the nails on Tuesday or 
Thursday — whichever way the rhyme goes — is thought to gain "wealth" 
for the person paring his nails ; in this connection, for example, see No. 
605, above. Addy, 114; Udal, 282 (both Tuesday). 

607 If you cut your nails on Monday, you'll have news. 

If you cut your nails on Tuesday, you'll receive a pair 

of shoes. 
If you cut your nails on Wednesday, you'll have bad 

luck. 
If you cut your nails on Thursday, you'll go on a 

journey. 
If you cut your nails on Friday, you'll receive a letter. 
If you cut your nails on Saturday, you'll receive 

something good. 

Anonymous. Cf. South: Puckett, 401 f. (Negro) — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 2132 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 103 — 
New York: Bergen, Current, No. 1420 — Pennsylvania: Phillips, 167, 
No. 72 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3406; Norlin, 211, No. 39 — Texas: 
Turner, 173. Cutting the nails Wednesday for "news" is an equally prev- 
alent belief. Addy, 114; Udal, 282 (both Wednesday). 

Legs, Walking, Stepping 

608 Small ankles are a sign of aristocratic blood. 

Galox. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3434 (a person who has slender ankles comes 
from good stock) ; cf. No. 3433 (large ankles reveal a descent from 
ancestors of the working class). 

609 It is bad luck to cross legs on Sunday. 

Green Collection. In the following references no mention is made of 
Sunday. Maryland: Bullock, 8 (leg crossing is often effective in prevent- 
ing bad luck) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 335 (never cross your feet; 
it is a bad sign) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3436 (sitting cross-legged is 
the sign of coming good fortune) ; No. 3437 (sitting cross-legged on a 
chair will cause bad luck). McCartney, 112. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 9S 

6io A twitching of the calf of the right leg is a sign of misfor- 
tune. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

6i I It is bad luck to run backwards. 
W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. 

6i2 Don't walk backwards, for it is the same as "cussing" your 
mother. 

Green Collection, and Mr. Fairley. Cf. Storaker, Menneskct, Nos. 
342 f. ; Swietek, 556 (for thus they push their mother into hell). 

613 If you step (cross) over anybody, it is the sign of bad luck. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county, and Mrs. Gertrude 
Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 331 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 352. 

614 Do not step over any portion of a person's body, because 
you are likely to have bad luck. 

David N. Brooks and Baird U. Brooks, Durham county. The following 
references all deal with stepping over the feet of a person. Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 209; No. 1374 (bad luck for seven years; this bad 
luck may be counteracted by walking over it again in the opposite direc- 
tion) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 996 — Tennessee: Frazier, 41, No. 39 
(to undo the mischief step back) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 8318 ff. (No, 
8320 : lucky for the person stepping over one's feet). 

615 It is bad luck to step over anyone lying down. 

William B. Covington, Scotland county, and three other informants — 
one from Guilford county, and two unidentified. Tennessee: McGlasson, 
21, No. II — Georgia: Steiner, No. 25 (he must step over again back- 
ward to prevent bad luck [Negro]) — Texas: Turner, 158. 

616 It is bad luck to step over a person, and not step back the 
same way. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 997. See 
Nos. 613 ff., above, for other examples of "stepping back." 

617 If you Step over anyone, it is bad luck for either you or 
them. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 8322. 

Feet, Toes, Toenails 

618 It is good luck to stump the right foot. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 988 — Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 20, No. 16 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 325 (you will have a 
surprise). 

619 It is bad luck to stump the left foot. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 788 (when 
you knock your left foot, you will be disappointed) — Kentucky: 



96 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Thomas, No. 986 (to avert the bad luck of stumping the left foot, go 
back and start over) ; No. 987 (same as previous item, except that the 
bad luck is averted by "turning around") — Tennessee: McGlasson, 21, 
No. 16 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 326 (you will have a a disappoint- 
ment) ; No. 327 (good luck) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 8329 — Texas: 
Turner, 156 (bad luck to kick the left foot against something and pass on 
without going back over the object). 

620 A toenail placed under a doorstep brings good luck. 
Dr. Blair, Union county. 

621 It is bad luck to stump your toe. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 989, No. 
991 (bad luck unless you go back over the place without stumping your 
toe) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 141 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 8325, No. 
8326 (to counteract bad luck, walk back over the object which caused 
you to stumble) — California: Dresslar, 99 (bad luck unless you retrace 
your steps). 

622 If one stumps his right toe, it is a sign of surprise. 
Anonymous. Cf. California: Dresslar, 99 (sign of surprise). 

623 If you stump your right toe, you will be disappointed. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
206 (bad luck). 

624 If you stump your left toe, you will be pleased. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

625 If a person stumps his left toe, it is the sign of a disappoint- 
ment. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 985 (bad luck) — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 148 (unlucky) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 8329 (un- 
lucky) — California: Dresslar, 99 (bad luck). 

626 If you stump your left big toe, it is bad luck. 
Anonymous. 

627 Kill a toad-frog. You will stump your toenail off. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 435 (ordinary frog [Negro]) — 
Maryland: Bergen, Animal, No. 362 (frog) — Kentucky: Rainey, 13 
(stub your toe) ; Thomas, No. 3501 (toad) ; No. 3502 (if you see a 
toad, you will stump your toe) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Animal, No. 
368 (toad). 

628 Toenails trimmed before sunrise Monday morning will 
bring you a gift before the week is gone. 

Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 3466 (cutting your toenails on Monday will give you success). 

629 If you cut your toenails every Wednesday morning before 
the sun rises, you will have good luck. 

Anonymous. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 97 

Miscellaneous 

630 The body furnishes itself with new skin every seven years. 
Jessie Hauser, PfafFtown, Forsyth county. In the following references 
there is no specific mention of skin. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 28 (general 
discussion of bodily renewal in seven-year periods) — Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 256 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 19 (German) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 2855. Radford, 216, s.v. "Seven Years." 

631 Good luck will follow a person who has a great many moles 

on his or her neck. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3934 (a mole on the face). For 
the connection between moles on the neck and the gaining of money and 
wealth, see Nos. 3390 f. Radford, 176. 

632 To dream of a giant or a large-sized person is good luck. 
Anonymous. 

633 To dream of seeing a naked woman will bring bad luck. 
Anonymous. Cf. Radford, 105, s.v. "Dreams." 

634 It is bad luck to take a picture of a person. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 2156 (never have a picture taken on Monday) — Ontario: 
Doering-Doering i, 61 (the Six Nations Indians believe that the taking of 
photographs of their Festival of the White Dog will bring them bad 
luck). Napier, 142; Leland, 249. 

635 Many preachers believe the Negro is the descendant of 
Cain and a gorilla out of the Land of Nod. 

Green Collection. 

636 The bite of a blue-gummed Negro is said to be poisonous. 

Louise Lucas, White Oak, Bladen county, and the Green Collection. 
Botkin, 686 — South: Puckett, 14, 204 ("a blue-gummed Nigger . . . 
is a 'Ponton,' a cross 'twixt a horse and man") ; 378 (almost as poisonous 
as a snake bite) ; cf. also p. 308 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3112; No. 
3846 (a blue-gummed Negro is dangerous; he has the hoodoo power) — 
Georgia: Steiner, No. 90 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4542, No. 4541 (a blue- 
gum Negro is very dangerous; it is just too bad for you if he bites you). 

637 If a blue-gummed Negro bites a person, it will kill the 
person. 

Julian P. Boyd. South: Puckett, 204 (Negro) ; also p. 308. 

Folk Medicine 

health, physical attributes, etc. 

Sise 

638 If someone steps over your body, you won't grow any 
taller. 

Blalock Dudley ; Julian P. Boyd ; Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, 
Sampson county ; and an anonymous informant. Cf. No. 181, above, for 



98 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

references to the stunting of growth in children as a result of being 
"stepped over." Wessman, 68. 

639 If you step over any one and do not step back, he will not 
grow any more. 

Ethel Brown, Catawba county. Cf. No. 182, above, for references to 
"stepping over" a child and then "stepping back" to counteract stunting. 

640 An older person sleeping with a younger person saps the 
strength from the latter. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 148, No. 98 — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 258 (this notion is set forth; also the notion that a sickly 
person sleeping with a well person will get well at the latter's expense) 
— Pennsylvania: Phillips, 164, No. 17. Cf. No. 274, above. 

Strength, Athletic Prowess 

641 A leather band worn around the wrist is supposed to give 
strength to a man. This belief is common among Negroes. 

Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill, Orange county; Sue Hull (Indiana); 
and two other informants from central and western counties. South: 
Puckett, 313 f. — Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 812 (Negro) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 969 — Tennessee: Rogers, 31 — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 449 (a piece of rawhide) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2868. 

642 Wear leather bands around the wrists and the ankles to 
make yourself strong. 

Ella Smith, Yadkin county. South: Puckett, 313 f. (Negro). 

643 A leather bracelet is worn to give added strength. A man 
can't be outdone when it is worn. 

Green Collection. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1847. 

644 Goose grease applied externally will make you supple. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

645 Rub the mastoid bone with mutton tallow to enable you to 
win a foot race. 

Green Collection. 

646 One who eats a deer's gall will have the speed and wind of 
a deer. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Cf. South: Puckett, 321 (if 
you swallow the heart of a blacksnake, it will make you long-winded 
[Negro]) — Maryland: Bergen, Animal, No. 1023 (Negro). 

647 Swallowing a fish's bladder will make you a swimmer. 

Ted Caldwell, Chapel Hill, Orange county, and an anonymous informant. 
Georgia: Campbell, 2 (Negro). Storaker, Mennesket, No. 286. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 99 

648 To learn to swim, swallow a fish's swimmer. 

Green Collection. Texas: Turner, 174 (swallow whole the floater of 
a fish). 

Health 

649 To dream of an individual dying is a sign of good health. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Dreams are thought to go 
by opposites. Cf. Nos. 3123 f. below. 

650 If you dream about a death, it is a sign that the person is 
in good health. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

651 Moles on the neck and throat denote health. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

652 If the first bird you see on New Year's morning is flying 
high, you will have good health during the year. 

Anonymous. Cf. South: Puckett, 488 (if you are walking when you hear 
the hrst dove of the year, you will be healthy [Negro]) — Indiana: 
Busse, 15, No. 12 (if you are standing when you hear the call of a dove 
in the spring, you will be well all year) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 1518 
(three crows seen flying means health) — Osarks: Randolph, 246 (same 
as previous item) — Kansas: Bergen, Animal, No. 288 (if you are walk- 
ing or standing when you see the hrst turtledove of the year, you will be 
well [healthyj). Cf. No. 707, below. 

053 If you see the new moon over your right shoulder, you will 
be healthy duruig that month. 

Anonymous. 

654 If the first corn silk you see in the spring is red, you will 
be healthy during the year. 

Anonymous. 

655 Mandrake root is a health giver. 

Green Collection. For mandrake in other medical connections, see Nos. 
8 f., above. 

656 Slippery ellum (elm) is good for health in general. 
J. Schaffner. 

657 During the first rain in May if you will let it rain on your 
head, you will have no serious illness during the year. 

Esther F. Royster, Henderson, Vance county. South: Puckett, 383 
(Negroes tell of running bareheaded in a May shower to secure the 
sanatory effect.) Cf. Nos. 765 f., below. 

658 A cold winter is healthy ; snow takes the germs from the 
air. 

Green Collection. 



lOO NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Appetite, Thirst 

659 To stimulate the appetite, take before each meal pulverized 
wild cherry bark. 

Anonymous. 

660 A pebble in the mouth will ease or prevent thirst. 
Green Collection. 

Convalescence 

661 If a person takes sick on Wednesday, there is a chance of 
his getting well. 

Green Collection. 

662 If anyone has been sick for a long while and begins sneez- 
ing it is a sign that he will soon recover. 

Anonymous, and the Green Collection. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 815 (sneeze three times, no need of a doctor) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1600 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4286 (if a person 
sneezes three times in succession before breakfast, he will regain his 
health). Kanner, 560, 567 (Nos. 22-23), 568. 

663 When a patient yawns, it is a sign of recovery. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 62 — 
Pennsylvania: Fogel, Nos. 524, 1602 (a bad omen for a sick person to 
yawn [German]). 

664 If you cut your nails when you are sick, you will not get 
well until they grow out the same length they were before. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 403 (Negro) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
968. Cf. Nos. 696 ff., below. 

665 Tickle a patient's feet, and he will put on his own socks. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

Longevity 

666 In reading the palm, fortune tellers read the lines in the 
palm, taking "M" very plain, to indicate a long life, and "M" 
very dim, a short life. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
3329. 

667 If the life line extending across the palm from the base of 
the thumb and forefinger to the inside heel of the hand is broken 
near the end, you'll live to be about eighty-five years old. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 
497 (if the lines in your hand run together, you will not live long). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine ioi 

668 If a whippoorwill sitting on your roof, hollows (halloos), 
the number of times he hollows will indicate the number of years 
you will live. 

Robert E. Long, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Texas: Strecker, Birds, 
28 (the cry of a whippoorwill heard repeatedly in the night means the 
hearer will live a long time). 

669 Count the number of train cars in a long freight train. The 
total number is equal to the number of years old you will live 
to be. 

Mary L. Walker, Durham county. 

670 People with large ears will live longer than those with 
small ones. 

L. B. Brantley, Zebulon, Wake county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 816 
(if the ear is long and hangs down, the possessor will have a long life) 
— New England: Johnson, What They Say, 115 (the person between 
whose ear and cheekbone the distance is narrow will die young) — 

Washington: Tacoma, 22 (well curled ears denote a long life). 

Meeker, 288; Wessman 17 f. 

671 Break a mirror while looking in it, and you will not live 
seven years. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Ontario: Wintem- 
berg, German 11, 89 (if a child is allowed to look into a mirror it will not 
become very old). Radford, 174. 

672 If flowers wilt quickly on you, you won't live long. 
Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

673 Every frog you kill makes your life shorter. 
Anonymous. 

Beauty 

674 A widow's peak is a mark of beauty. 
Green Collection. 

675 Smoke from an out-of-door fire drifts to the most beautiful 
person within range. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3926 — Ozarks: Randolph, 
282-283 (fire follows beauty). 

676 Smoke follows a pretty girl. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3925 — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 529; Hyatt, No. 3885. 

677 If a person cats a chicken gizzard, he will become pretty 
(beautiful). 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, an anonymous in- 
formant, and two others from central and western counties. South: 



I02 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Puckett, 356 (Negro) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1516 — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3530 — Tennessee: Frazier, 46, No. i — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 793 — Indiana: Busse, 14, No. I — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 3857; No. 3858 (stand on your head in a corner of the room 
and eat a chicken gizzard to make yourself beautiful) ; Smith i, 59 
(eat a chicken gizzard behind the door) — Nebraska: Cannell, 34, No. 
71 (good looking), 

678 Swallow a chicken gizzard whole, and you will become 
handsome. 

Green Collection. Cf. Maryland: Bergen, Animal, No. 1103 (swallow 
a whole goose gizzard, and it will make you pretty) ; Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 1518 (same as previous item) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3531 (to 
become beautiful, swallow a chicken gizzard whole). 

679 It will make you beautiful if you eat a hundred chicken 
gizzards. 

Alda Grayson, Rutherfordton, Rutherford county. 

680 If you want to be pretty, eat cornfield peas. 
O. W. Blacknall, Kittrell, Vance county. 

681 If you wash your face in dew before sunrise on May Day, 
you will be beautiful. 

Green Collection, and Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Cf. North 
Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 248 — South: Puckett, 328 (before sun- 
rise not specified) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2817; No. 2810 (A maid 
who on the first of May, / Goes to the fields at break of day, / And 
washes in dew from hawthorn tree, / Will ever after handsome be) — 
Alabama: Bergen, Current, No. 1405; Knortz, 142 (before sunrise the 
first night in May) — Indiana: Busse, 24, No. 28 (before sunrise not 
specified) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 3863 ff. (with various details) ; No. 
3867 specifies dew from an old stump. No. 3865 contains the verse 
given for Kentucky, above. Brand-Hazlitt, 11, 400; Foster, 63; Rad- 
ford, 102; Inwards, 54. 

Ugliness 

682 Drink coffee and you will be ugly. 
Anonymous. 

683 If you let the moon shine on your tmcovered face, you will 
get wrinkled. 

Elizabeth J. Cromartie. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2201 (it makes one 
homely to sleep with the moon shining on his face) — New Mexico: 
Espinosa, 414 (if one counts the stars, as many as one counts, so many 
wrinkles will appear on one's face [Spanish]). 

Signs and Portents of Sickness 

684 Never pay a doctor all you owe him, because sickness is 
bound to follow soon. Certain country doctors have suffered 
from this superstition. 

Green Collection. Rhode Island: Bergen, Current, No. 1282; Knortz 
137 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1490 (German). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 103 

685 If a person takes seriously sick on Sunday, he seldom re- 
covers. 

Green Collection. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2142 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, No. 517 (German). For beliefs relating to convalescence 
or getting out of bed on Sunday, see Fogel, Nos. 552 f., 1626 f. 

686 To dream of eating is a sign of sickness in the near future. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 276 (German) 
— lozva: Stout, No. 1138. Cf. Nezv England: Johnson, What They Say, 
34 ("Well, I always know I'm goin' to be sick when I dream I can't 
get the table set"). 

687 Sneezing at the table is unlucky, for "you are threatened 
with sickness." 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. For sneezing as a 
sign of convalescence, cf. No. 662, above. 

688 If you try to burn the combings of your hair and they do 
not blaze, it is a sign of sickness. 

Anonymous. For beliefs concerning the burning of hair, cf. No. 494, 
above. 

689 To iron a man's shirt tail will make him ill. 

Mrs. George Benton, Fremont, Wayne county, and another informant. 

690 Sweeping the floor after sundown will cause sickness be- 
fore the next week. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county. General: Bergen, Current, 
No. 1452 (sickness before morning) — New York: Gardner, No. 217 
(no time indicated). For sweeping in the sickroom, cf. Nos. 701 ff., 
below; and for sweeping after sundown, cf. Nos. 3376 f., 5110 f., below. 

691 Don't take up a pile of trash that someone else has swept 
together, or you will have a sickness. 

Anonymous. 

692 If you finish cleaning up a room that someone else has 
started to clean, you will have a sickness. 

Anonymous. 

The Sick 

693 If you are sending milk to a sick person, put a little milk 
behind the back of the person by whom it is being sent, and the 
sick person will get better. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

694 A sick person must not have his hair cut. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 336 (bad luck to cut a sick 

person's hair). 



104 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

695 It is bad luck to shave a sick man. 

Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. Osarks: Randolph, 
310 (it is nearly always fatal to shave a sick man). 

696 If you trim your fingernails on Monday, you will be sick 
before Friday. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 94 (it is bad luck for 
a sick person to cut his fingernails). Cf. No. 664, above. 

697 Never cut a person's fingernails while the person is sick; 
if you do, the person will be sick just as many more days longer 
as the number of fingernails cut. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Indiana: Busse, 14 (the relatives of a sick woman 
refused to have her nails manicured, believing that if the nails of a 
sick person are cut, he will never get well). Cf. No. 664, above. 

698 If you cut a person's fingernails when he is sick he will 
never get well. 

Anonymous. Indiana: Busse, 15, No. 8. Cf. Nos. 664, 696 f., above. 

699 A sick person must not bathe. 
Green Collection. 

700 It means bad luck to buy a new garment for a sick person. 

G. B. Caldwell, Jr., Monroe, Union county. Cf. General: Patten, 140 
(if new clothes are put on a sick person in the evening, he will continue 
ill) — South: Wiltse, Superstitions, 133 (never have a garment cut or 
made while you are sick; if you do, you will never live to wear it) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 241 (bad luck to make new clothes 
for a sick person) — Kentucky: Thomas, Nos. 21 10 f. (if any kind of 
garment is made or bought for a sick person, that person will never 
get well) — Tennessee: Frazier, 39, No. 4 (the sick person will never 
get up to wear a new garment made for him) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
No. 555 (if you are taken sick while wearing a new article of clothing 
for the first time, you will never get well [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4294 (to buy or make a garment for a sick person denotes that he 
will not get well) — Osarks: Randolph, 303 (a person critically ill has 
little chance of recovery if given a new dress or garment). 

701 To sweep under a bed in which there is a sick person is bad 
luck. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 337 — Mississippi: Hudson, 150 
— Louisiana: Roberts, No. 577 — Illinois: Smith iii, No. 17 (Negro). 
Cf. No. 690, above. 

702 If you sweep under a sick person's bed, he will get worse. 

Elizabeth J. Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. Cf. South Carolina: 
Fitchett, 360 (sweeping under the bed of a sick person will prevent his 
recovery [Negro]). Cf. No. 690, above, and No. 1196, below. 

703 If you sweep under the bed of a sick person, he will never 
get well. 

Dixie V. Lamm, Lucama, Wilson county. South: Puckett, 398 (Negro). 
Cf. Nos. 690, 701 f., above. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 105 

704 It is bad luck to change a sick person from one bed to an- 
other. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock. No. 849 (a sick person moved from one bed to another will not 
recover) — Missouri: McKinney, 107 — Ozarks: Randolph, 310 (the 
tabu against moving a sick person from one room to another is so strong 
that if this must be done, the bed and bedding must be moved also). 

705 White flowers given to sick people are bad luck. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 432 (Negro). 

Addy, 100. 

706 If two people are sick in the same house at the same time, 
and if one dies, the other one will get well soon. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. South: Puckett, 79 (an explanation is 

offered to the effect that when one person dies, the disease's spirit is 
satisfied, and the other sick person is allowed to recover [Negro]). 

Animals 

707 If the first bird you see on New Year's morning is flying 
low you will be sickly during the year. 

Anonymous. Cf. references in No. 652, above. 

708 It is a sign of sickness to dream of eggs. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Mamie Mansfield, Dur- 
ham county. 

709 If a hen crows, there will be sickness in the family. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 1399 
(for chickens to crow at daybreak is a sign of disease). For the crow- 
ing of a hen as an indicator of death, see Nos. 5248 ff., below. 

710 Dream of lice and you will be sick. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 682 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1969 (sign of approaching 
illness) — Nczu England: Johnson, What They Say, 39 (sickness 
threatens some member of the family) — Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 473 
(sickness in the family) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 6247 f. (poor health and 
sick spell, respectively) — California: Dresslar, 128 (it is a sure sign 
of sickness to dream of a louse). Addy, 69. 

711 When you see an owl at night it means sickness. 
Constance Patten, Greensboro. 

712 It is a sign of sickness to hear an owl hooting near your 
house. 

Alma Irene Stone, Meredith College, Wake county. Cf. Texas: Strecker, 
Birds, 31 (the presence and cries of the barn owl foretell approaching 
sickness). For the hooting of owls as a portent of death, see Nos. 5303 
ff., below. 



I06 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

713 Turn your pockets wrong side out after hearing the hooting 
of an owl, so as to prevent sickness. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 7270 flF., below, for the turning of pockets inside 
out to make shivering owls desist from shivering, or owls stop hooting. 

714 To hear a shivering owl near the house is the sign of sick- 
ness. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. Ci. No. 5303, 
below (death). 

715 If a screech owl hollers near your house, it is a sign of 
sickness. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and S. M. Gardner, Macon, Warren 
county. Georgia: Steiner, No. 112 (if a screech owl flies into your 
room, it is a sign of sickness) — Ozarks: Randolph, 245 — Texas: 
Turner, 158 (a sign of bad luck, and perhaps sickness). 

716 If a whippoorwill comes and sits on the house, it is the 
sign of sickness in the family. 

Virginia Bowers, Stanly county. Cf. South: Puckett, 488 (if you hear 
the first whippoorwill while lying down, you will be sick). 

717 A dream of snakes is a sign of sickness. 

Julian P. Boyd. South: Puckett, 294 (a little chicken snake in a dream 
indicates only slight sickness) — Illinois: Wheeler, 63 (someone in the 
family will fall ill) — California: Dresslar, 128. 

Animals in the Body 

718 "O, but there's a woman at Ferriby 'at had one [a frog in 
her body] for years, just the same, an' it alus started croakin' 
every spring at generin' time." 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, 252 f., 304 — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 1506 — Osarks: Randolph, 280. Baughman, B784.0.1. 

719 A dried lizard pounded makes a powder, which, when 
thrown on a person, makes a snake come in him. 

Green Collection. For various notions about a lizard in the body, see 
South: Puckett, 250 ff., 298, 303 f., 434 f . ; "Superstitions," 15 — Ken- 
tucky: Sanders, 20 f. — Ontario: Waugh, No. 85 — New Hampshire: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 839 — New York: Gardner, No. 32 — Ozarks: 
Randolph, 280 — Arkansas: Bergen, Animal, No. 47 — Southwest: 
Strecker, Reptiles, 62, 65. Black, Folk-Medicine, 162. 

720 A person or animal bitten by a snake will have a small 
snake attach itself to the liver of the person or animal bitten, 
and live on the blood sucked from the liver. 

George E. Knox (Washington, D. C.) 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 107 

721 One who has been bitten by a snake has a snake hanging 
to his Hver. As soon as the snake has eaten the liver up, the 
person will die. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. 

722 A dried snake pounded makes a powder, which, when 
thrown on a person, makes a snake come in him. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 250 f. — Maryland: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 43 (a little powder, made of dried-up snakeskin, will cause a snake 
to breed in you [Negro] ; No. 1698. HDA v, 480. 

Plants 

723 Don't eat cherries or any kind of fruit with milk or cream. 
It's dangerous. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county. For other unhealthful combinations of 
food, cf. Nos. 2819 fT., below. 

724 If the first corn silk you see in the spring is white, you will 
be unhealthy. 

Anonymous. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2918 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 1238. 

725 To cure diseases brought on by animals, the medicine man 
always prescribes something peculiarly related to the animal. 
For instance, one medicine man in prescribing for an illness be- 
lieved to have been caused by a deer, recommended for a decoc- 
tion the four ingredients : deer eye, deer ear, deer skin, and deer 
tongue — all of which were names of certain plants. 

Anonymous. "The hair of the dog that bit you" is an old saying that 
bears out the homeopathic principles so universal in folk medicine. One 
wonders if the whole science of immunology has not developed from 
ideas based, in part, on this old folk belief. For examples of the kinds 
of cures indicated in this number, cf. Nos. 1292 f., 1692 ff., and 2139 ff., 
below. 

Miscellaneous 

726 Among the Cherokees, disease is usually believed to be 
caused by revengeful animal spirits, ghosts, and witches. The 
sickness may be due, however, to a violation of some ceremonial 
regulation. 

Anonymous. In their belief in sickness induced by conjury and witch- 
craft, civilized peoples share with primitive folk the notion that vengeful 
humans and other creatures are able to cause not only disease, but death 
itself. Among Christian peoples, Satan himself is popularly thought to 
torment people and to bring disease and bodily harm upon them 
(Brendle-Unger, 17) ; cf. pp. 17-18 of this same work for the brief essay, 
"Diseases are Evil Spirits or are Caused by Evil Supernatural Powers," 
an essay which notes the obsolescence in America of these older Euro- 
pean beliefs. The reader should also consult pertinent parts of Puckett, 
Randolph, Kittredge, and other books that contain good sections on 
witchcraft and conjury in America. 



I08 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

727 It is believed that many ailments are due to a splinter shot 
invisibly into the body by an enemy. It can be removed by the 
medicine man's placing his lips to the skin and sucking out the 
splinter, while repeating a formulistic prayer. 

Anonymous. This seems a notion comparable to the European belief in 
"elf-shot," in which cattle (and humans) were supposed to be shot with 
elf-arrows. Cf. Brand-Hazlitt i, 208 f; HDA ix, 242 f. ; Lauri Honko, 
Krankeitsprojcktilc. Untersuchung tiber eine urtiimliche Krankheitserk- 
larung (Folklore Fellows Communications, No. 178, Helsinki, 1959). 

728 Cherokee witches may make you ill merely by thinking of 
you in that condition. 

Anonymous. 

729 To dream of crossing water is a sign that there is going to 
be sickness in your family. 

Alma Irene Stone, Meredith College, Wake county, and Maysie and 
Marjorie Rea, Craven county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4305 (when you 
have any kind of sickness, cross water and you will improve). Cf. No. 
767 below. 

730 To dream of muddy water is a sign sickness will follow. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county. Of the following refer- 
ences, only the Hyatt item specifies "muddy water." Neiv England: 
Johnson, What They Say, 34 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 6445 — California: 
Dresslar, 131 — Washingtoti: Tacoma, 20. A dream of muddy water 
may also indicate death; cf. No. 5175 below. Swietek, 521. 

731 It is unhealthy to eat any of the first snow which falls. 
Furman Bridgers, Wilson county. 

732 If you eat snow before the third snow of the season falls, 
it will cause you to be sick. 

Green Collection. 

733 Night air is injurious to people. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. South Carolina: Bryant, 11, 
141, No. 130 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 50 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
17 (German) — Ozarks: Randolph, 157 (night air is poisonous) — 
Nebraska: Black, 41, No. 8 (sleep with the windows tightly closed at 
night to prevent the bad night air from bringing an illness). 

734 If you count a hundred stars, it is a sign of sickness. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and three other informants 
from eastern and central counties. 

General Remedies and Cure-Alls 

735 To keep off disease, put some asafetida in a little bag and 
tie it around the neck. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and thirteen other informants 
from widely separated localities. "The idea was that the evil spirits did 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 109 

not like it and would keep away. True, human germ carriers dislike 
the smell, and keep a safe distance if possible" (Louise W. Sloan, David- 
son, Mecklenburg county). South: Puckett, 391 (also eaten [Negro]) — 
Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 14 (two balls of asafetida tied around the 
child's neck to ward off the evil spirits [causing the disease]) ; Sanders, 
14 — Tennessee: Frazier, 36, No. 40; Law, 98; O'Dell, Doctor, No. 
19; Rogers, 49 — Missouri: McKinncy, 107 — Nebraska: Black, 41, No. 

6 — Montana: Mincrs's Voice, June 4, 1947, 4 — Idaho: Lore, 204. 

HDA viii, 747 £., s.v. "Teufelsdrcck" (cxcrcvicntum diaboli). 

736 If you wear a piece of asafetida tied about your neck by a 
dirty string, you will take no contagious disease. 

Caroline Biggers, Monroe, Union county, and the Green Collection. 
South: Duncan, 234, No. I — South Carolina: Bryant, 11, 137, No. 7; 
Fitchett, 360 (Negro) — West Virginia: Musick, 7, No. 31 — Indiana: 
Brewster, Cures, 35, No. i ; Busse, 15, No. 13 — Texas: Woodhull, 62 

— Nebraska: Black, 42, No. 38 (in a sock around one's neck). 

737 A bag of camphor about the body will ward off diseases. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 475 (bag not 
specified) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1552 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4265. 

738 A sensible germ preventive is a bag of solid camphor car- 
ried about the neck. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham county. Nova Seotia: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 1133 ("'camphire' gum") — Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 
196 — Nebraska: Black, 42, No. 16. HDA iv, 958. 

739 Powder a pearl and swallow it to ward off impending 
disease. 

Anonymous. Cf. HDA vi, 1497. 

740 Conjer [conjure] balls are worn to ward off diseases. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

741 To drink whey and lie still is prescribed as a cure for 
sickness. 

Green Collection. 

Animal Cures 

742 A dog's tongue is thought to have medicinal values. The 
belief probably comes from observing the habit of dogs in licking 
their own wounds. 

Green Collection. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 856 — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 1772 — Neivfoundland: Bergen, Anitnal, No. 856 

— Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 164 — Illinois: Allison, No. 103 

— Iowa: Stout, No. 973 — Texas: Woodhull, 53 (if a boy has a cut and 

will let his pet dog lick the hurt place, this will cure the sore). Addy, 

89 (reference to the dogs licking the sores of Lazarus [Luke xvi : 21]) ; 
Black, Folk-Medicine, 148; Foster, 126. 



no NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

743 The right forefoot of a hare is good to ward off disease. 
Green Collection. 

744 The shoulder bone of a rabbit is a charm cure for diseases. 
Green Collection. 

745 A rabbit's foot worn on the body will keep off disease. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

746 A rabbit's foot worn around the neck will keep off any 
kind of disease. 

Valeria Johnson Howard, Roseboro, Sampson county. 

747 To carry the left hind foot of a rabbit wards off diseases. 
Minnie Bryan Farrior, Duplin county. Cf. No. 5797, below. 

748 The left hind foot of a rabbit, killed in a graveyard at mid- 
night on Friday night, if worn around the neck, prevents 
diseases. 

Irene Thompson, Mt. Airy, Surry county. 

749 To keep off disease, tie a left hind foot of a rabbit around 
the neck. The rabbit must be killed on Friday, the thirteenth, 
in a graveyard, at twelve o'clock at night, in the light of the 
moon, by a red-headed Negro. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. 

750 If you'll smother a mole in your hand, you will be able to 
cure many diseases. 

J. T. Carpenter, Durham county, and Henry Belk, Monroe, Union county. 
(An actual instance is cited of a man who killed a mole.) South Caro- 
lina: Fitchett, 360 (Negro) — Maryland : Lee, iii — Pennsylvania: 

Fogel, No. 1551 (for a felon [German]). Cf. No. 778, below. 

Johnson, Normandy, 195; HDA vi, 20. 

751 Toad stones, miraculous stones growing in the heads of old 
toads, are thought to protect their possessors from all sorts of 
malignant diseases. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3506 (the jawbone of 
a tree toad carried as a good-luck amulet) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 1589 

(same as the previous item). Radford, 131, 241; Hovorka-Kronfeld i, 

59, 263; II, 12. 

Plant Cures 

752 Wearing a bag of herbs around the neck keeps off diseases. 
E. R. Albergotti (South Carolina). 

753 Black currants are good for the sick. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 334. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine III 

754 To carry a buckeye keeps off diseases. 

Anonymous, and Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. Tennessee: Frazier, 
36, No. 38 (worn around the neck) — Pennsylvania: Brinton, 182 (horse- 
chestnut) — Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162 — Texas: WoodhuU, 
62. For the magical uses to which a buckeye is put, see No. 5817, below. 

755 If you carry a buckeye in your pocket, you will not have 
diseases. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, 
Garland, Sampson county. California: Dresslar, 116 (horse-chestnut). 
Cf. No. 5818, below. 

756 Carry a buckeye in your right pants pocket for general 
aches. 

Green Collection. 

757 To keep off disease, run a string in a nutmeg and tie it 
around the neck. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Mamie Mansfield, Dur- 
ham county. Tennessee: Rogers, 49. 

758 To keep off contagious diseases, wear an onion either 
around the neck or in the pocket. Some say it must be a red 
onion. 

Green Collection. Unless otherwise specified, a "red onion" is not 
favored. General: Knortz, 129 (hung above the door) — South: Puckett, 
290, 392 (red onion [Negro]) ; Richardson, 248 (red onion [Negro]) — 
South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 8 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 1425a 
— New England: Johnson, What They Say, 78 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 33 (German) ; Lick-Brendle, 229 (during the prevalence of con- 
tagious diseases, sliced onions are exposed in sleeping rooms in the belief 
that infectious matter would be absorbed and not affect the patient 
[German]) — Illinois: Allison, No. 114; Hyatt, No. 4273 — Oklahoma: 
Smith, Animals, 74; Smith, Folk Cures, 82 (onions are healthy) — 
Washington: Tacoma, 27 (cut an onion in two, hang it by a string, and 
knock it when you pass). HDA ix, 968 f. The health-giving prop- 
erties of the onion have been set down in the following couplet : "Eine 
Zwiebel am Tag/ Halt den Doktor im Schach" (Lick-Brendle, 228, quot- 
ing Sohns). 

759 Doctors often find pine tops under the beds of sick people. 

Green Collection. In former times pillows made of aromatic herbs, leaves, 
and needles were common in New England, and were also known in 
Canada for their use in sickbed. Rousseau (Abenakise, 155, No. 7t, and 
163, No. 8) notes their use. Randolph (p. 114) makes mention of the 
use of dried hopvines for stuffing pillows in the Ozarks. 

760 Poplar leaves are placed under the beds of sick people. 

Green Collection. In Pennsylvania the bark of the tulip poplar is used 
in domestic medicine (Lick-Brendle, 241). 

761 Sassafras root carried in one's pocket is a charm against 
all disease. 



112 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

F. C. Brown, Durham. For the use of sassafras other than as a charm, 
cf. South: Puckett, 390 — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 282 (for internal 
pains) — Osarks: Randolph, 105 (dried bark for general use). 

762 Sunflowers will keep away sickness, if planted near the 
house. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

763 If you hang a tobacco leaf in the fire chimney during the 
summer, you will have no diseases in the house the following 
winter. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Nezv England: John- 
son, What They Say, 78 (no reference to the magical practice of hang- 
ing the tobacco in the chimney). 

764 White briar rod wards off almost any disease. 
Green Collection. 

Miscellaneous Cures 

765 To keep off all sickness during the summer, get wet in the 
first rain in May. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. So^dh Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (Negro) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2264 (rain water collected on Good 
Friday used as a specific ; it never spoiled or lost its virtue) — New 
York: Gardner, No. 23 (drink May rain water to prevent bad health) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 62 (the water that falls from heaven has 
healing powers, whether in the form of rain, dew, hail, or snow ; it is 
especially beneficial if it falls during a holy season or on holy places — 

as during Easter, and on God's acre, the cemetery [German]). HDA 

VII, 607 f . ; Baughman, D2161. 4.14.3 (dew). 

766 Wet your head in the first May rain, and you will have no 
more sickness that year. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 383 (Negro). 

767 On Ash Wednesday, before sunrise, dip a pail of water in 
a river (upstream), bottle it, and keep as a cure for everything. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Nevj England: Johnson, What They Say, 165 
(fill a bottle with water at a spring on Easter morning) — Maine: 
Bergen, Current, No. 837 — Nezv York: Relihan, Remedies, 81 (any 
disease can be cured by bathing the afflicted spot with water taken from 
a running stream just before sun-up on Easter morn). Cf. No. 730, 

above. HDA i, 1673; 11, 1682 &..; ix, 113 fif. ; Mihanovich, 273; 

Foster, 91 (south-running water). 

768 To keep diseases away, boil water and add a generous quan- 
tity of carbolic acid. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 211. 

769 Take a dose of castor oil, three days later rub infected 
parts with the same oil. Repeat this on the third day. Three 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 113 

days later take another dose of castor oil. Keep this going for 
twenty-seven days. In this time you will be cured of all diseases. 

Green Collection. 

770 Paint your neck with oil of turpentine to keep off all dis- 
eases. 

Miss Hamlen, Buncombe county, and Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill, 
Orange county. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1422 (you must not take 
turpentine externally unless you take it internally). 

771 A Negro idea concerning epsom salts is that there are two 
kinds : a winter salts, and a summer salts. Either kind is not 
effective in the wrong season. 

Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. 

772 Wear sulphur in the shoes to keep off diseases. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. In the following 
examples no mention is made of wearing sulphur in the shoes. South: 
Puckett, 392 (worn about the neck [Negro]) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 
335 (drinking the water from sulphur springs) — New England: John- 
son, IVhat They Say, 77 (carrying a lump of sulphur in one's pocket) — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 114 — Nebraska: Black, 42, No. 19 (a bag of sul- 
phur around the neck) — Idaho: Lore, 172. HDA vii, 1459 f. 

773 Wearing a gold band on one's finger is used as a germ 
preventive. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham county. Cf. California: Dresslar, 119 (a 
rheumatism ring will cure disease). The use of rings as amulets against 
disease is not of uncommon occurrence in folk medicine. Particularly 
well known, of course, is the use of a gold ring in treating styes. Cf. 

Nos. 1237, 1304, 1621, 2055 f., 2283 ff., below. Radford, 68, 134 f . ; 

Foster, 60. 

774 Mrs. J. S. Farmer says that her cook told her that many 
Raleigh Negroes are wearing dimes around their ankles with a 
hole in the dime, as a preventive of sickness. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 391 (a silver coin tied around the 
ankle [Negro]' — Texas: Woodhull, 62 — lotva: Stout, No. 988 (wish 
a disease onto a person by throwing a penny over your left shoulder ; the 
one picking it up will get the disease). 

775 To cure disease, quote the sixteenth chapter and sixth verse 
of Ezekiel. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. The scripture from 
Ezekiel is usually quoted as a charm to stanch the flow of blood. Cf. 
Nos. 881 f., 1625 below. 

776 Every doctor [Cherokee medicine man] is a priest, and 
every application is a religious act accompanied by prayer. 
Anonymous. North Carolina: JAFL in (1890), 49. 



114 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

'jyy The Holiness people make handkerchiefs which they send 
to a preacher to be blessed and prayed over. These are used to 
cure. 

Green Collection. Iowa: CFQ i (1942), iii (red handkerchief en- 
dowed with healing properties by the Prophet Joseph Smith) — Ozarks: 
Randolph, 160 f. (holy oil poured onto handkerchief). 

778 Many old people have the gift of healing. They can cure 
pain by rubbing with their hands. The way they achieve this 
power is as follows : Catch a live mole, and rub him to death 
between your hands. If the mole bites you, it is certain that you 
will never be a healer, but if you succeed in crushing it to death 
before it harms you, you will have the power of healing. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (if one squeezes 
a mole to death with his hands he will acquire the power of rubbing 
pains out of the body [Negro]) — Ozarks: Randolph, 92 ("rubbin' 
doctors"). Cf. No. 750, above, No. 2184, below. 

779 A woman may relieve herself of pain by sending it into her 
husband as she steps over him. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. For notes on the 
transferring of pain to one's spouse, see No. 32, above. 

Teas 

780 Balsam tea is good for disease. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1430 (the 
fat in which a balsam apple is fried has healing properties). 

781 He-holly tea made from leaves is good for boys ; she-holly 
tea for girls. 

Julia McRae. 

782 To make hog-huf [sic] tea, use five, seven, or nine tea- 
spoonfuls ; put into pint of water, and boil to one-half the 
quantity. 

Julia McRae. 

783 A fine tea for various sicknesses is made from horehound. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

784 A common cure-all is a tea made from peach leaves. 

Anonymous. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 27 — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 
2yy (as a tonic [German]) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 76. 

785 Pennyroyal tea is used as a sure cure for diseases. 

Green Collection. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 62 (the medicinal use of 
pennyroyal is noted as early as 1818) — Iowa: Stout, No. 1064 (a lotion 
made from pennyroyal is good for any ailment) — Jamaica: Beckwith, 
Jamaica. No. 87. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 115 

786 A tea made from rhubarb is a good general tonic and 
medicine. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 75 (Ger- 
man). 

ySy Sage tea is used for indiscriminate ills. 
J. Schaflfner. 

788 Sassafras makes an excellent tea for sickness. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South: Puckett, 390 (Negro) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 39 (mixed with the juices of other roots) 
— Ozarks: Randolph, 105. 

789 Take the leaves of the tansy, wring them or bruise them, 
pour either hot or cold water over them, and drink to cure 
diseases. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
175 (German). 

790 White oak tea for young 'uns in the spring and fall. The 
bark is taken off the north side of the trees in the spring and off 
the south side in the fall. 

Anonymous. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 251 (German) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4272 (red oak). 

Tonics 

791 Calamus root is used as a tonic. 
Anonymous. 

792 Cherry bark soaked in whiskey makes a good spring tonic. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. In the references assembled 
here, whiskey is lacking. Cf. West Virginia: Musick, 6, No. 13 — 
Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. 40; Rogers, 15 — Neivfoundland: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 1255 — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 268 (black 
cherry [German] ) . 

793 For a tonic, boil the bark of the cherry tree in water. Add 
a few nails and a little whiskey, strain the mixture, and drink. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, Durham county. Nails not mentioned 
in either reference cited. Tennessee: Rogers, 15 (various barks besides 
cherry) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 3 (also slippery elm bark). 

794 Wild cherry, oak, and persimmon bark tea with enough 
whiskey in it to keep it from souring makes a good tonic. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Nos. 792 £., above, 

795 "Sang (the devil's own touch) pertins you up in the 
spring." 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. 



Il6 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

796 As a cure for a run-down condition in the spring, take 
bitters. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Herbs were usually 
praised for their "bitter" taste. Cf. South: Puckett, 364 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 90 f., 175 — Ozarks: Randolph, 92 f. 

797 Sulphur and molasses is a spring tonic. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Tennessee: Rogers, 16 (also just plain 
sulphur taken internally nine consecutive mornings) — Ontario: Doering, 
Customs, 153. For examples of sulphur worn on the body or carried, 
see No. 772, above. No. 1549, below. Foster, 61. 

798 Sulphur and cream of tartar is used as a tonic. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

799 Powder a pearl and swallow it as a tonic for failing vigor. 
Anonymous. 

Ointments 

800 An ointment should always be applied with the third finger. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Ontario: Wintemberg, 
Grey, No. 128 (salves). The third, or middle finger is the so-called 
digitus medicinalis (Seligmann 11, 184). Cf. Napier, 99 (only the middle 
finger possesses no damaging influence on sores, while all the other 
fingers, in coming into contact with the sore, were held to have a 
tendency to defile, to poison, or to canker the wound). Care should 
be taken not to touch a wound with the "dog finger," perhaps the index 
finger, but not clearly established as such. This "dog finger" is the so- 
called "conjure finger" (Puckett, 46). In Ireland, there was a prejudice 
against using the forefinger in medical application because this finger is 
thought to have been poisoned ever since Judas Iscariot betrayed our 
Lord by pointing him out to his tormentors (JAFL vn [1894], 225). 
Salve applied with the ring finger, on the other hand, is thought to 
insure speedy healing (Knortz, 25; Radford, 202). Cf. No. 2174, below. 
HDA II, 1492 ; Lean 11, 403 ; Addy, 90. 

801 Always apply salve with the middle finger. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. See No. 800, above. 

802 " 'Ham gilly' buds make the best 'intment there is." 

Anonymous. Balm of Gilead buds, of course, are meant. This prescrip- 
tion was published in a newspaper from Blowing Rock, N. C, June 27, 
1942. 

Poultices 

803 Ground persimmon sprouts are good for poulticing. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

Diseases 

Aches 

804 Among the many cures for aches was brown paper applied 
after it had been soaked in vinegar and pepper. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 207. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 117 

Ague 

805 A tooth from a skull is a good charm against ague. 
Green Collection. 

806 Nine headlice rolled up in a bread crumb pill is a cure for 
ague. 

Green Collection. The use of lice is not elsewhere encountered in the 
United States, but the similar practice of kneading spiders into pills for 
internal use has been noted from Maryland (Bergen, Anhnal, No. 882; 
Whitney-liullock, No. 1783) and from Illinois (Bergen, Animal, No. 
881). Cf. Napier, 95; Radford, 14. 

Amputations 

807 An amputated limb, if buried crooked (in a cramped posi- 
tion), will cause the patient pain until it is taken up and 
straightened. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county, and the Green Collection. 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1059 — Tennessee: Frazier, 48, No. 33 — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 356 — Pennsylvania: Bayard, 56; Fogel, No. 596 
(German). 

808 Bury a member (arm or leg) with the body. 

Anonymous. Neiv York: Jones, Ghosts, 252 (when an arm has been 
buried apart from the rest of the body it should be dug up and reburied 
with the corpse) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4468. 

809 If you lose a finger through an accident, and the finger is 
buried instead of burned, the place will still hurt until the buried 
finger takes root. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 233; Farr, 
Superstitions, No. 234. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1007 (if you bury an 
amputated limb, the patient will have pains until it rots. It should be 
burned) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4469 — Ozarks: Randolph, 202 (if the 
amputated limb is not buried, but instead burned, the owner will return 
after death in a mutilated condition and be forced to search for the lost 
member through all eternity). 

Anemia 

810 Mrs. Carles M. Cranor of Wilkesboro reported to Miss 
Camp that she has found more than a dozen children who have 
been "cupped." The parent takes poisonous herbs, etc., from 
the woods, makes a brew and gives it to the child, who then 
breaks out all over with "hives," according to the people. Then 
a deep gash is cut in the shoulder. Either a scooped out squash 
or "simlin" or a cup is taken, and a piece of paper is burned 
within the cup, thus expanding the air. The cup is then put 
over the gash, and as the air contracts, the action draws out the 
blood. The blood is then thinned with water, and the child 



Il8 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

drinks it. Mrs. Cranor found one child who had been cupped 
three times. This treatment is given when the child is anemic. 

Green Collection. "Simlin is the simblin, cymblin, cymlin, a kind of 
gourd-like squash." — G. P. W[ilson]. Cf. Brewster, Customs i, 103. 

Appendicitis 

811 Grape seed, blackberries, and the like, bring on appen- 
dicitis. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Fowler, No. 12 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 176 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5715. 

812 For appendicitis, kill a black cat on a night when there is a 
full moon, split the cat down his spine, and apply the warm 
organs to the pain. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). This reference to a cat is unusual, but it is not 
entirely without interest that in Illinois a tea made from "cat-tail" flowers 
is administered for appendicitis trouble (Hyatt, No. 5716) — Idaho: 
Lore, 207. 

813 Appendicitis may be cured by walking slowly up a stairway 
and then down. After this operation a laxative should be taken. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 196 f. 

Arms 

814 If you kill a wren, you will have a broken arm soon. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 436 (Negro) — Georgia: Steiner, No. 
117 (to break up a kildee's nest is a sign that you will break a limb) — 
Texas: Strecker, Birds, 36 (breaking a leg or an arm for despoiling a 
kildeer's nest). Cf. Nos. 1481 fif. 

815 Buckeyes carried in the right-hand pants pocket will cure 
pains in the arms. 

Anonymous. 

Asthnm 

816 To cure an asthmatic cold, live in the open. Eat eggs, 
drink milk, rest a long while. Drink life-everlasting tea. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. The use of the ever- 
lasting plant has been noted for Pennsylvania, either made into a tea or 
chewed (Brendle-Unger, 138 f . ; Lick-Brendle, 193 (children were made 
to sleep upon the everlasting plant [German]). Cf. No. 824, below. 

817 Asthma can be cured by eating the whole body of a crab. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro. 

818 A muskrat skin worn over the chest will prevent and also 
cure asthma. 

Green Collection, and Mary Scarborough, Wanchese, Dare county. 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4482 (furry side of the muskrat hide is placed over 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 119 

the lungs). Note also the use of a mole skin in the same general way, 
except that it was stuck fast to the chest with honey (Osarks: Randolph, 
155). Cf. No. 820, below. 

819 A rabbit's foot worn around the neck will prevent asthma. 
Ethel Brown, Catawba county. 

820 Wear a weasel skin over the top part of the chest, changing 
sides every Thursday between nine and ten o'clock. Wear it 
for seven weeks, three days and thirty minutes, and there will 
be a complete cure. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 818, above. 

821 Mullein will cure asthma. 

Anonymous. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139 (mullein is smoked) — 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 18, No. 5 (smoked) ; Redfield, No. 33 (smoked 
in a pipe) ; No. 35 (tea made of mullein leaves and honey) — Nova 
Scotia: Creighton, 86, No. 3 (steep the leaves) — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 138 (patient sleeps on mullein leaves that have been dried and 
smoked, sometimes being previously soaked in saltpeter water [Ger- 
man]); Lick-Brendle, 147 (leaves were smoked [German]) ; cf. also p. 
226 — Indiana: Busse, 16, No. 20 (smoke the leaves) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4481 (smoke in a pipe) — Osarks: Randolph, Ozark, 81; Wilson, 
Folk Beliefs, 162 (mullein tea). 

822 Plum bark will cure asthma. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: McGlasson, 18, No. 6 (wild plum tea) — 
Georgia: Campbell, 4 (wild plum bark cut from the sunrise side of a 
tree, boiled for hours in an iron pot, and mixed with whiskey is taken for 
asthma) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4484 (wild plum bark tea) ; No. 4485 
(the dry inner bark from the wild plum tree just before the blossoms 
open) — Osarks: Randolph, 94 f. (wild plum bark, scraped down). 

823 Plum bark root is a remedy for asthma. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 822, above. 

824 Asthma may be cured by smoking life-everlasting, and also 
drinking a tea of it. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Among the Pennsyl- 
vania Germans it was customary to sleep on the dried and smoked leaves 
of the everlasting plant (Brendle-Unger, 138). Note the same practice 
in connection with mullein in No. 821, above. Cf. No. 816, above. 

825 Take kerosene for asthma. 

Anonymous. Cf. the Pennsylvania German practice of having the patient 
inhale the vapor of heated tar (Brendle-Unger, 138). 

826 Real amber beads worn around the neck will prevent and 
also cure asthma. 

Anonymous, and the Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1062 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4475 (a necklace of amber beads) — Texas: Lewis, 
267 — IVashington: Tacoma, 26. 



120 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

827 To wear a string of yellow beads around one's neck will 
cure a person of and keep a person from having asthma. A man 
was asked no longer than today why he was wearing a string of 
yellow beads around his neck and he said that he had had a 
severe attack of asthma a few nights before and had put on a 
string of yellow beads and gotten immediate relief. 

George E. Knox (Washington, D. C.) Cf. No. 826, above. 

828 If you pass a child afflicted with asthma through a split in 
a tree, it will effect a cure. 

Pearle Webb, Pineola, Avery county. The sympathetic cure of passing 
a person through a tree, under a bramble, etc. is little noted in connection 
with asthma, although the related cure of "plugging," i.e., boring a hole 
into a tree and fastening a lock of the patient's hair in the hole with 
a wooden peg, is widely practiced. For a discussion of "passing through" 
trees, see No. 311, above; cf. 829, below. 

829 A child in Allegheny county suffered from asthma or 
"tyzic." He was cured by the method of applying a sourwood 
(sorrel tree) stick measured to his back, just the height of the 
boy, then throwing away the stick — "tyzic" thrown away with it. 

Green Collection. This sympathetic cure differs from the usual practice 
of "measuring" a child for an illness by notching a tree in order that 
he may slough off the disease as he outgrows the mark. For the use of 
this latter sympathetic cure for asthma, cf. Tennessee: O'Dell, Signs, 
3; Redfield, Nos. 39 f. — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 379 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4488. 

Backache 

830 If your back hurts, you can get a bone and put in your 
pocket, and it will quit hurting. 

Minnie Turner, Stanly county. 

831 If you will lie down and roll over on the ground three times 
the first time that you hear a dove holler in the spring, you will 
not have backache all year. 

Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh. South: Puckett, 363 (roll over 
twice [Negro]). Compare the Pennsylvania German custom of throw- 
ing oneself to the ground upon sighting the first stork of the year, and 
rolling over as a means of remaining free from backache for the rest of 
the year (Rupp, 255, No. 17)- Cf. No. 832, below. 

832 To cure backache, when the first whippoorwill calls lie 
down and roll over three times. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. North Carolina: Hoke, 
115 (turn a somersault three times) — South: Puckett, 363 (roll over 
twice) — Maryland: Bullock, 10 (roll down a hill backward) — 
Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1938 (turn a somersault [German!) , No. 
2061 (roll yourself [German]) ; Rupp, 255, No. 17 (turn a somersault; 

roll down hill [German]) — Ocarks: Randolph, 133. Leland, 129 

(turning three somersaults the first time one hears thunder). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 121 

833 Buckeye, carried in the right-hand pants pocket, will cure 
backache. 

Green Collection. 

834 For backache, rub the affected parts with remains of boiled 
grapevine. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. 

835 Get rosin from a pine tree, heat it in a shovel, spread it on 
a cloth, and put it on the back. This is a sure cure for backache. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. In none of the following 
references to the use of pine resin plasters is there a mention of heating 
in a shovel. Virginia: Martin, No. 23 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1063 
— Quebec: Ivousseau, Anticosti, No. 14 {Abies balsamea, a species of 
fir, was made into a tea and used for backache) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4715 — Washington: Tacoma, 26. 

836 To cure "misery in de back," dig up some pine roots in a 
road where there has never been any corpse, burn the roots, and 
then apply rosin to your back. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

^2,7 Pepper vinegar is good for backache. 
Anonymous. 

Baldness 

838 Cutting one's hair keeps one from getting bald. 

Green Collection. In the following four examples, reference is made to 
cutting the hair. In Indiana it is held that a man with a tendency to 
baldness should shave off his beard, "thus allowing more nourishment to 
go to his head" (Halpert, Cures, 10). 

839 Cut the hair in March and it will all fall out. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

840 If you cut your hair on St. Patrick's Day, it will shed. 
Anonymous. 

841 If you cut your hair after nine p.m. on Friday, you will 
become bald-headed at an early age. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

842 If you cut your hair when the moon is decreasing, it will 
cause your hair to fall out. 

Anonymous. West Virginia: Mockler, 312, No. 17 (cut the hair on the 
first Friday after new moon to avoid baldness) — Kentucky: Thomas 
No. 2300 (cut hair in the dark of the moon and you will become bald) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 100 (waning moon [German]); Fogel 
No. 1832 ; No. 1828 (hair will not fall out if cut on the first Friday in 



122 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

new moon) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2947; No. 2948 (hair cut in the dark 
of the moon causes baldness). McCartney, 140; Wessman, 13. 

843 Wear your hat in the house, and all of your hair will fall 
out. 

Anonymous. Kentucky: Fowler, No. 11 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, lOi ; (also caused by going outdoors without a hat [German]) 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2958. 

844 If a bat happens to light on, or hit one on, the head, that 
person will soon become bald-headed. 

Dorothy Kanoy, Fayetteville, Cumberland county. Ontario: Wintem- 
berg, Waterloo, 9 (if a bat drops any of its excrement on a person's 
head, the hair will come out at that spot) ; Wintemberg, German i, 
46 (same as previous) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1829 (a bat wetting 
in one's hair will cause baldness [German]) ; No. 1830 (if a bat gets 
into your hair, you will become bald [German]); Brendle-Unger, loi 
(both a bat's getting into one's hair, and letting its droppings fall into 
one's hair cause baldness [German]). For headaches induced by the 
same misfortune, see No. 1577, below. 

845 The blood of a bat was an excellent preventive of baldness 
in the good old days. 

George P. Wilson, Greensboro. In connection with bats as causative 
agents of baldness, this cure would suggest the application of the principle 
of similia similibus curantiir. 

846 Hair used in a bird's nest causes the owner to become bald- 
headed. 

Julian P. Boyd. Maryland: Bergen, Animal, No. 739 (Negro) — 
Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1812 (German) ; Rupp, 252, No. 7 (because of 
the fear of blindness resulting from the use of one's hair in bird nests, the 
hair should be buried or burned [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2980 
(a man's combings). Cf. Nos. 1578 fif., below, for headache resulting 

from the use of human hair in bird nests. Leland, 24 (snake carrying 

human hairs into his lair causes baldness); Napier, 114; Black, Folk- 
Medicine, 16-17; Wessman, 12. 

847 The gall of a lizard is thought to prevent baldness. 
Anonymous. 

848 Fresh mouse meat is a cure for baldness. 
Anonymous. 

849 Mole's blood is used for the cure of baldness. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro. 

850 Rub castor oil on the skin of your head to stop the hair 
from coming out. 

Rosa Efird, Stanly county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 123 

851 Honey and water boiled off human hair is a favorite scalp 
tonic among bald-headed men. 

Anonymous. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 57 f. (hair was made to grow on 
a bald head merely by coating the bald spot with honey, after which 
the head was massaged with a raw onion). 

Bed Sores 

852 To prevent bed sores, bathe the tender skin vi^ith water in 
which oak or elm bark has been boiled. 

Green Collection. 

Bile 

853 Salted herring on "bile." 
Green Collection. 

Bladder Disorders 

854 For bladder disorders, take sweet nitre and Haarlem oil in 
small quantities, alternately, a day between each dose. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 197. 

Bleeding 

855 Cord a wound above it to stop the flow of blood. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

856 Some people think that moss grown on the skull of a 
hanged man will stop bleeding. 

Anonymous. 

857 To cure excessive bleeding, kill a chicken and apply fresh 
bleeding meat to the place. 

Green Collection. 

858 To stop a wound from bleeding, cover it with cobwebs. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and six other in- 
formants from widely separated localities. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 
137, No. 35 — Virginia: Martin, No. 3 — Kentucky: Sanders, 16 (clean 
cobwebs) — Tennessee: Frazier, 34, No. 6 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 
372 — ■ Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 14; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 130 
— New York: Smith, Andes, 297 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1546 — 
Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 34, No. 6; Halpert, Cures, 7 — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 132 — lozva: Stout, No. 1015 — Nebraska: Black, 30, No. 

7. For the use of spider webs, see Nos. 862, 1261 f., below. Foster, 

62; Radford, 83. 

859 To stop bleeding, apply a cobweb from the corner of the 
kitchen. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 



124 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

860 Bind a cut finger in cobwebs, and it will get well and stop 
bleeding. 

Valeria Johnson Howard, Roseboro, Sampson county. 

861 To stop the flow of blood, put sooty cobwebs over the cut. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1071 (pills made of cob- 
webs) — Wisconsin: Brown, Insects, 8 (cobweb pills) (dusty cobwebs) 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4604 (dusty cobwebs). For further references 
to soot, see Nos. 867, 875, below. 

862 Put spider webs on a bad cut, and it will stop bleeding. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 
1477 — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 180, No. 164 (French) — Ontario: 
"Waugh, No. 271 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1546 (German) — Ozarks: 
Randolph, loi — Texas: Woodhull, 51 — Nebraska: Black, 30, No. I. 
Laval, 24 No. 9; Taboada, 37. 

863 Scraped sole leather is good to stop the flow of blood. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. For the use of sole leather in another 
medical connection, see No. 320, above. 

864 A weed called "fever weed" will stop bleeding. 
Jean and Hallie Holeman, Durham county. 

865 Socrum weed tea will stop bleeding. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

866 When a wound is bleeding, apply a liberal amount of black 
pepper to stop the flow. 

Elsie Doxie, Currituck county. 

867 Brown sugar and soot will stop bleeding. 

Anonymous. Soot is not mentioned in the following references ; only 
brown sugar or sugar. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 56 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4618 (sugar), No. 4619 — Nebraska: Black, 30, No. 5 (brown sugar 
and whiskey); No. 6 (sugar). Cf. No. 868, below. 

868 To stop the bleeding of a wound, apply brown sugar and 
turpentine. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. No. 867, above, for 
references involving the use of brown sugar, or sugar. 

869 To arrest the flow of blood wear (a) agate, (b) blood- 
stone, (c) carnelian, (d) red jasper. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Pennsylvania: 

Brendle-Unger, 41 (bloodstone [German]). Black, Folk-Medicine, 

III f. (jasper). 

870 Among the many cures for bleeding are the ashes of burned 
rags. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). The Idaho World reported in 1865 the use of 
smoking woolen rags to stanch the bleeding of an ax wound. Idaho: 
Lore, 207. 



superstitions: body, folk mhdicine 125 

871 Use alum to stop blood. 

Green Collection: Tennessee: Redfield, No. 53. 

872 To stop a wound from bleeding, cover it with clay. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Nebraska: Black, 30, 
No. II (mud). 

873 Use gunpowder to stop blood. 
Green Collection. 

874 Salt will often stop bleeding from a slight wound. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 845 Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 180, No. 169 (salt and flower 
[French]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4615. 

875 If soot is put in a fresh cut, the flow of blood will cease, 
and the place will heal without soreness. 

Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh, and two other informants from 
Brunswick and Alexander counties. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, 
No. 34 — Virginia: Martin, No. 21 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1072 
(soot from the chimney) ; No. 1073 (swallowing of tea brewed from 
the soot of a wood fire) — Tennessee: Frazier, 34, No. 7; Law, 99; 
Redfield, No. 56 (soot and sugar) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4617 (soot 
rubbed into the wound; seldom used because it will leave a black scar). 

876 Cold water will often stop bleeding from a slight wound. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

877 To stop a wound from bleeding, pour kerosene on it. 
Airs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

878 When wounded by the blade of an ax or similar weapon, 
if the ax is buried in the ground up to the eye, the blood will 
cease to flow. 

Green Collection. The use of an ax to stanch blood is reported in many 
localities, but here there appears rather to be an association with the 
practice of cleansing the cutting instrument in order to prevent infection. 
In such cases the instrument itself is washed, greased, or plunged into 
wood, the earth, or anything else that will keep it free from infectious 
agents. Important in this particular case also, perhaps, is the associ- 
ation of the earth itself with clay, charcoal, soot, cobwebs, and other 
earth-like substances that are widely used in arresting the flow of 
blood. 

879 A certain verse in the Bible, when repeated by a certain 
person, or persons, will stop the flow of blood from a wound, 
except when the wound involves the severing of a main artery. 

George E. Knox (Washington, D. C). The "certain" passage alluded 
to here is likely the one referred to in Ezekiel 16:6, as treated in Nos. 
881 f., below. To the specific references cited there, I give general 
references here to the speaking of scriptural passages. No actual bless- 
ings or formulae, however, are given. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 52; 



126 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Rogers, 55 f. — Ontario: Waugh, No. 268 — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 
7 i. — Ozarks: Randolph, 122 ff., particularly the item on p. 123 cited 
from the Springfield (Missouri) News. Cf. Nos. 1624 f., below. 

880 The flow of blood may be stopped by certain people quoting 
a certain passage of scripture, but if one who has the power to 
do this informs another where the passage may be found in the 
Bible, the power is conveyed from the informer to the informed. 

Green Collection. In connection with the previous item, I supply refer- 
ences here to various verses and formulae that are either biblical or are 
compounded from various religious sources, some of them invoking the 
Trinity. South: Porter, inf. (the charm in German) — New England: 
Johnson, What They Say, 82 f. — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 44 
(also a written charm inscribed in the forehead [German]) ; Grumbine, 
270 — Michigan: Dorson, 163 — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 4624 f. Rad- 
ford, 42. 

881 The sixteenth chapter and sixth verse of Ezekiel will stop 
the flow of blood, if repeated by one who has the power. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county ; W. J. Hickman, Hudson, 
Caldwell county ; and H. L. Davis, Hemp, Fannin county, Georgia. 
South: Porter, in — Kentucky: Price, 32; Thomas, No. 1078 — 
Tennessee: Redfield, No. 51 — Osarks: Randolph, 123. Cf. No. 775, 
above, and Nos. 1625, 1907, below. 

882 To stop blood read Ezekiel 16:6 three times. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 
43, No. 2. Cf. No. 1625, below. 

883 Anyone who has not seen his father (born after his father's 
death) can stop bleeding, whether present or not, on the condi- 
tion that he knows the bleeding is taking place, and is willing to 
stop it. 

Blades Melick, Pasquotank county. 

Blindness 

884 Sleep in the moonlight, and you will go blind. 

Will S. Sease (Oklahoma). Cf. West Virginia: Mockler, 314, No. 3 
(if the moon is afflicted by Mars or Saturn at the time of the child's 
birth, he will go blind) — Ozarks: Randolph, 204 (also blind and 
crazy both) — Nebraska: Cannell, 34, No. 65. 

885 A midwife told her that she always took milk from the 
mother's breast and bathed the baby's eyes with it, to keep away 
blindness. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 276 (an eyewash made of alum, wild 
honey, and sweet milk is good for blindness) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2701 
(if a child is born blind, the mother can make it see by squeezing some of 
her milk into its eyes). Cf. No. 306, above. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 127 

886 If you watch a lizard change colors, you will go blind. 

Julian P. Boyd. There are no parallel references, but numerous beliefs 
exist which connect blindness with reptiles, particularly with snakes. 
Amongr southern Negroes the notion persists that the dust of a powdered 
rattlesnake, or the dust from a shed skin of a snake, will cause blindness 
(Puckett, 276). Dresslar (p. 49) notes the fear of the dust of the 
rattles of a rattlesnake in this same connection. In Kansas it is 
believed that if the rattles of a snake are cut, the juice will squirt into 
a person's eye and blind him (Bergen, Animal, No. 1027). 

Blisters 

887 Blisters on the tongue are due to telling stories. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. South Carolina: Bryant i, 
290, No. 25; No. 26 (if your tongue is sore) ; 289, No. 5 (a pimple on 
your tongue) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 809 (a lump on the 
tongue) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 854 (a blister or a sore place) — 
Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 250 (a sore) — New England: Backus i, 
501 (a sore) ; Johnson, What They Say, 63 (a sore on the tip of the 
tongue) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 347 (a pimple on the tongue 
[German]) ; Hoffman 11, 28 (a long and involved cure is given [German]) 

— Illinois: Allison, No. 397 (a sore) — lozva: Stout, No. 280 (a canker 
or blister [Norwegian]); No. 281 (if your tongue is sore [Scotch]); 
No. 242 (a pimple [Norwegian]) — Texas: Turner, 174 (a person has 
told as many lies as he has ulcers on his tongue) — California: Dresslar, 
104; 105 (a sore). 

Blood 

888 To draw blood from a person, use a leech. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. For general background 
material on blood letting, see Rogers (pp. 44 f.) ; also the section on 

"Bloodletting and Cupping" in Brendle-tjnger (pp. 44-48). Hovorka- 

Kronfeld i, 5 ff. (see engraving on p. 7) ; HDA i, 172 f. 

889 The roots and bark and leaves of many plants are steeped 
for blood tonics. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). See specific blood purifiers and tonics listed below. 

890 Addertag tea is good for blood. 

Julia McRae. "Pappy gave it to us, and he had no sick on his hands." 

891 For bad blood, get the roots of burdock, cut them in round 
discs, put in water, and drink. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and Mamie Mansfield, Durham 
county. Cf. Virginia: Martin, No. 15 (burdock bitters) —Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 39 (a handful of burdock root, a handful of pepperwood 
boiled in three quarts of water to one half its constituency [German]) 

— Iowa: Stout, No. 917. 

892 Flaxseed tea cures acid in the blood. 
Anonymous. 



128 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

893 Old people say that the juice of goose grass is an excellent 
blood purifier. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, Durham county. 

894 Sasfrarilla (sarsaparilla) root tea is a blood tonic. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. A vulgarized spelling, but more 
commonly "sassperilla." — G. P. W[ilson]. West Virginia: Musick, 6, 
No. 12 (bark) — Quebec: Rousseau, Abenakise, 154, No. 76. — Texas: 
Dodson, 88 (those who take sarsaparilla for their blood must not let 
the dew fall on them [Spanish]). 

895 Drink sassafras tea in the spring for bad blood. 

Green Collection, and Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Kentucky: 
Fowler, No. 24 — Tennessee: Law, 99; Redfield, No. 181 ; Rogers, 16 f. 
— Louisiana: Roberts, No. 429 — Indiana: Busse, 16, No. 18 — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 102 — Osarks: Randolph, 104 f. 

896 Boil the roots from the sassafras tree, and sweeten with 
sugar. This is taken to thin the blood. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Kentucky: Sanders, pp. 15, 
19 — Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. 35 — Illinois: Fox, 4 — Missouri: 
McKinney, 107. 

897 Smartweed tea will bring blood. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

898 Wild cherry tree bark bitters is a cure for bad blood. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

899 Wild cherry bark, dogwood bark, and sassafras root make 
a good tonic for the blood. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

900 Get wild cherry bark, cut it up into oblong pieces, put it 
into a bottle, and cover it with water, or whiskey. This will 
clear up the blood. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

901 Vinegar and iron nails are also used for a blood remedy, to 
invilure [inviolate?] the blood. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Nciv Mexico: Moya, 74 (people drink water out 
of a rusty can to enrich the blood [Spanish]). 

902 Cinders and molasses were used to "inrichen" the blood of 
the human body. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

903 To renew the blood, take a mixture of shop cinders and 
sulphur. 

Anonymous. 



superstitions: houy, folk medicine 129 

904 To keep the blood cool in the spring, and the fever down, 
peel down the bark on the north side of a red oak tree, boil it and 
drink the tea. The same keeps the fever up in winter. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. 

Blood Poison 

905 If a nail is stuck in the foot, remove the nail and hold the 
wound over a smoke made from woolen yarn rags, and blood 
poison will be prevented. 

Ella Smith, Yadkin county, and Charles R. Bagley, Moyock, Currituck 
county. South: Puckett, 277 (hold the wound over burning wool scraps; 
also, cedar mixed with shoe soles will smoke the soreness out) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5263 (smoke from a woolen sock) ; No. 5264 
(smoke the wound fifteen minutes over a burning woolen cloth) — 
Ozarks: Randolph, loi (burn woolen rags in a copper kettle) — Texas: 
Woodhull, 60. Cf. Nos. 1789, 1795, below. 

906 Erysipelas weed boiled and mixed with mutton suet makes 
a salve for blood poison. 

Anonymous. 

907 Fireweed will cure blood poison. 
Anonymous. 

908 Rattlesnake's master is good for blood poison. 
Cozette Coble, Stanly county. 

909 To prevent blood poison after sticking a nail in the foot, 
make a poultice of gypsum weeds [Jimson weed?] and apply. 

Green Collection. 

Blood Pressure 

910 Gum berries are good for high blood pressure. 

Anonymous. Various plants, including garlic, are prescribed, but the 
North Carolina prescriptions for this item, and also for No. 911, are 
unique. 

911 Alistletoe herb is a remedy for high blood pressure. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 910, above. 

Boils 

912 To cure boils, bleed the bad blood out. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster. Boils were thought of as evidences of bad blood. 
This "bad blood," therefore, had to be drawn out {Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 252 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 70 [German]). This same 
notion is held in many other places. In Oklahoma, for example, every 
boil a person has is regarded as being "worth five dollars" (Smith, Folk 
Cures, 78; cf. also p. 76). Other places where a financial value of 
five dollars is put on a boil are: North Carolina: Bruton, Beliefs, No. 7 
— Ontario: Waugh, No. 291 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5680. 



130 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

913 Put fat bacon on a boil to cure it. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Texas: Woodhull, 20, 51 — Nebraska: 
Black, 34, No. 10. Foster, 61. 

914 Draw a boil out with fat bacon, honey, and flour. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 70 (a warm application of flour and milk). 

915 Put a piece of fat meat on a boil, and it will get well. 

Wilma Foreman, Stanly county, and two other informants from Mc- 
Dowell and Wake counties. Tennessee: Frazier, 36, No. 42; Rogers, 
28 — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk Cures, 76-77 — Texas: Turner, 168. The 
last three references specify that the fat meat shall be raw. ^John- 
son, Normandy, 195 (roast meat, which is later buried). 

916 Fat pork is used on boils to draw out inflammation or 
fever, 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Tennessee: Law, 99 — Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 263 — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 71 (a debate as to the relative 
merits of cooked or raw meat). 

917 The boiled white of an egg will draw a boil to a head. 
Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5690 (boiling not specified), 

918 The white of an egg (beaten) and honey will draw boils 
to a head. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 71 
(the white of an egg thickened with gunpowder) ; Smith, Folk Cures, 
76-77). The yolk of an egg mixed with molasses and flour is noted 
in New England (Backus 11, 197) ; also poultices made from the yolk 
of an egg mixed with salt (cf. the two Oklahoma references cited above). 

919 Take the skin around the egg and put it over the boil to 
cure it. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 
North Carolina: Bruton, Medicine, No. 3 (let the moist lining of an egg 
shell dry over the head of a boil) — Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. 
47 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 11 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 70 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 5691 f. — Iowa: Stout, 
No. 950 — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 71 (the membrane is placed 
moist side down upon the boil and allowed to dry in place ; the drawing 
action is purely mechanical) ; Smith, Folk Cures, 76-77 — Idaho: Lore, 
208. 

920 Apply live fish worms to a boil. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 313. 

921 To cure boils, apply a poultice made from a muddauber's 
("dirt" dauber's) nest. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, and Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 
Kentucky: Price, 32; Thomas, No. 1102 — Wisconsin: Brown, Insects, 6. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 131 

922 To cure boils, apply honey and flour. 

Anonymous. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 173, No. 35 (flour and syrup 
[French]) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, p. 70 (flour and milk 
[German]). Cf. No. 914, above. 

923 Put a poultice of honey and sugar on a boil to cure it. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

924 Draw a boil out with molasses and flour plasters. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

925 Boil a bar of lard in one pint of milk so that only one-half 
teaspoon of liquid is left. Drink this liquid to cure boils. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. For references involving bacon, see 
No. 913, above. 

926 For boils, get the roots of burdock, cut them in round 
discs, put them in water, and drink. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5689 (a 
tea made from burdock roots). Foster, 61; Petulengro, 2. 

927 Grease cabbage leaves with lard, and apply to bring boils 
to a head. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 123 (wilt a cabbage leaf in 
ashes and bind it on). 

928 Comfrey root is a cure for boils. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

929 A flaxseed poultice will bring boils to a head. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 
26 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5695 — lozva: Stout, No. 956 — Oklahoma: 
Smith, Animals, 71 ; Smith, Folk Cures, 76 (lancing after application 
of the poultice) — Nebraska: Black, 34, No. 15 (keep the poultice hot 
and moist). Foster, 61 (linseed). 

930 A heart leaf poultice is a cure for boils. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

931 Bind a boil with Jamestown (Jimson) weed, and it will 
come to a head before morning. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. South: Puckett, 378 (Negro) 
— Georgia: Campbell, 3. 

932 Eat nutmegs to cure boils. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1097 — 
Ontario: Doering, Customs, 153 (eating them not mentioned). 

933 Wear nutmegs around your neck as a cure for boils. 

Anonymous. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 173, No. 40 (French) — Maine: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 1140. 



132 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

934 Roasted onion is good for boils. 

Virginia Bowers, Stanly county. Tennessee: Law, 99 (a poultice of 
soap and onions) — Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 173, No. 42 (cooked onions 
applied to boils makes them come to a head rapidly [French]) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 70-71 (same as above) — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 162 (a poultice of roasted onions). 

935 Poultices made from plantain are applied to boils to bring 
them to a head. 

Anonymous. Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 131 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 70 (plantain leaves fried in lard used as a poultice 
[German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5700 — Iowa: Stout, No. 1068 — 
Nebraska: Black, 34, No. 12. 

936 The best cure for boils is a scraped Irish potato, raw. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and the Green Col- 
lection. 

937 Carry a stolen potato in your pocket as a cure for boils. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 2017, below (rheumatism). 

938 A jelly made of red oak bark tea put on plasters vv'ill draw 
the boil out. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. North Carolina: 
Bruton, Medicine, No. 4 (red oak bark and sage made into a tea, mixed 
with borax, sulphur, and honey; this is applied as a poultice). 

939 For boils, make a poultice of fresh red oak bark between 
the outer rind and the tree, boil, and mix with corn meal. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 938, above. 

940 Drink sassafras tea as a cure for boils. 
Anonymous. 

941 Slippery ellum [elm] bark made into a poultice will draw 
the boil to a head. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Kentucky: Fowler, No. 22 — 
Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. 6; O'Dell, Superstitions, 4 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5706, No. 5707 (mixed with lard) — Oklahoma: Smith, 
Animals, 71 ; Smith, Folk Cures, 76-77 (the cambium layer of the bark 
of slippery elm used in a poultice puckers as it dries, thus drawing the 
boil). 

942 Swamp lily roots are good for boils. 

Anonymous. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5713 (poultice of the roots of the 
white pond lily). 

943 Tanze [tansy] is good for boils. 
Anonymous. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 133 

944 Chewed tobacco is used as an application to boils. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 263 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5711 — Osarks: Randoph, 98-99 (tobacco leaves in cold 
water applied as a poultice ; to make the poultice more effective, wrap 
the tobacco in fresh mullein leaves). 

945 Drink flour and water as a cure for boils. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 70 (flour and milk 
applied to the boil). Cf. Nos. 914, 922, above. 

946 Drink a teaspoon of flour and water for nine mornings as a 
cure for boils. 

Anonymous. 

947 Draw a boil out with poultices of salty meal. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

948 Apply Octagon soap and sugar to boils to bring them to a 
head. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, and Lucille Massey, Durham county. 
Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 23 (a plaster of sugar and soap) 
— Tennessee: Redfield, No. 126 (sugar and tub soap) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5708 (brown sugar and brown soap) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 
71 [long discussion] ; Smith, Folk Cures, 70-77 — Nebraska: Black, 
34, No. 13; No. II (soft soap and strained honey) — Utah: Baker- 
Wilcox, 191. Foster, 61. 

949 Put tar on a boil to cure it. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 491 (coal 
oil and salt). 

950 Turpentine, soap, and sugar are good for a boil. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Nos. 948 f., above. Idaho: Lore, 
208 (apply turpentine generously and often). 

951 Draw a boil out with Peter's Worth poultice. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

952 Take gunpowder for boils. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Oklahoma: Smith, Folk 
Cures, 77. 

953 You may cure boils by swallowing shot. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. iioi — 
Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 173, No. 34 (swallow an uneven number of bits 
of lead [French]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5704 (nine gunshot taken 
in one dose, or one by one at different times) — Iowa: Stout, No. 969 
(chew "BB" shot) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 72; Smith, Folk 
Cures, 77-7S (swallow one shot for each boil ; the theory is that the lead 
of the shot absorbs the poison that would otherwise form into a boil) — 
Nebraska: Black, 34, No. 14 (nine shots from a shotgun shell). 



134 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

954 To cure boils, tie small shot in the tail of a shirt, and wear 
the shirt for three days. 

J. K. Turner, Rocky Mount, Edgecomb county, and Mamie Mansfield, 
Durham county. 

955 To cure boils, boil a pint of gun shot with a quart of milk. 
When this is done, pour the milk off the shot and drink it. 

Mary Scarborough, Wanchese, Dare county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1 103 (boil a bar of lead [about one third of a pound] in one pint of milk, 
boiling down until only two teaspoonfuls are left; then drink) — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 291 — New York: Relihan, Remedies, 82 (soak 
twelve lead "BB" shot in a pint of milk for eight days; then pick the 
shot out of the rotten milk and take one daily) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5705 (a pound of shot and a pint of milk). 

956 If you take a pound of shot and boil it in water for several 
hours, and then drink two swallows of the water, you will be 
cured of boils and never be troubled with them again. 

Green Collection. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 173, No. 33 (some pieces 
of lead in boiling water; drink the water [French]) — Ontario: 
Doering, Customs, 153 (no quantities specified) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5703 (three shots out of your gun in a glass of water). 

957 Turn up a kettle, get soot, and make a cross on the boil 
with the soot. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. iioo. 

Bowel Ailments 

958 Ginseng root comforts the bowels. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

959 Heart leaves (leaves which grow in the shape of a heart 
and can be found in most places) are good regulators for the 
bowels. 

Anonymous. 

960 Tea made from the young growth of pine needles will cure 
bowel trouble. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

961 Bark from the root of the red alder is a good regulator for 
the bowels. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 233 (the leaves and 
bark of smooth alder). 

962 Tea made from the roots of the wild strawberry plant will 
cure bowel trouble. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Tennessee: O'Dell, 
Doctor, No. 8 (blackberry root tea) ; O'Dell Superstitions (same as 
above). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 135 

963 Flannel will prevent bowel trouble if worn in the summer. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

Bright's Disease 

964 A seventh son can cure Bright's disease by visiting the 
patient afilicted with it. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. 

965 To cure Bright's disease, put into a half -gallon of apple 
brandy a handful of cherry bark, persimmon bark, red holly 
bark, and dogwood root, and drink the solution. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

Bronchitis 

966 Bronchitis may be cured by smoking life everlasting, and 
also drinking a tea made from it. 

Anonymous. 

967 To cure bronchitis, wear a stocking around the throat at 
night. The dirtier the stocking is, the better. 

Green Collection. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 172, No. 17 (wear a dress- 
ing jacket of green flannel), No. 18 (the grease of lamb put on a 
flannel or on a blotter, and set on one's back or stomach [French]) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 139 (turn a stocking wrong side out and 
wear it tied around the neck at night). 

Bruises 

968 To beeswax the size of an tgg add twice as much rosin 
and twice as much mutton suet as rosin. Melt together and 
fry strips of linen till brown. Set ofif to cool a little, then pour 
on enough camphor to soak through. Roll up, keep in a clean 
place, and warm before applying to bruises. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 74 (rosin and mutton 
tallow are mixed and placed on the bruise). 

969 Wrapping paper with salve of lard and brown sugar should 
be applied to bruises. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. n 
(wash the affected part in vinegar and bind with brown paper) ; O'Dell, 
Superstitions, 3 (same, with the observation "as Jack did when he fell 
down and broke his crown") ; Redfield, No. 72 — Ontario, Doering- 
Doering i, 63. 

970 Comfrey root is a cure for stone bruises. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 209 
(comfrey root fried in lard). Vinegar and brown paper are also recom- 
mended in Tennessee for stone bruise, as well as for ordinary bruise, 
as noted in No. 969, above (McGlasson, 17, No. 7). 



136 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

971 Equal parts of pine rosin, mutton suet, and beeswax will 
heal bruises. 

Clara Hearne, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax county. Cf. Pennsylvania: 
Lick-Brendle, 236 (white pine used in a plaster). 

972 Crushed plantain leaves are good for bruises. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. Illinois: H3'att, No. 4727. 

973 Rub a stone bruise with the old-fashioned pothooks. 

Green Collection. Compare the practice among the Pennsylvania Ger- 
mans of placing silver coins, spoons, knives, etc. upon a bruise to prevent 
discoloration (Brendle-Unger, 75). A penny was used for this purpose 
in Nova Scotia (Creighton, 87, No. 11). 

Bunions 

974 Bunions, "measured" with an ordinary broom straw, will 
disappear. 

Durham Herald-Sun, Oct. 22, 1939 (from Oxford, N. C, no date). 
The curative principle underlying "measuring" is the notion, it would 
seem, that the disease will be outgrown when one attains the height, 
or the extent marked or "measured" on a tree, a door jamb, or what not. 
Children are usually the beneficiaries of this form of sympathetic magic. 

Burns 

975 Butter should be used for burns, preferably unsalted. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 
38 — Ontario: Doering, Customs, 152 — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 7 — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 1032 (live-forever plant fried in butter and made into 
a paste; also the plant, sourdough). 

976 To cure a burn, kill a chicken and apply the fresh bleeding 
meat to the place. 

Green Collection. New York : Gardner, No. 7 ; Relihan, Remedies, 
82. In both examples, the blood is from a chicken's head. 

977 Goose manure stewed with sweetgum leaves and hog lard 
strained and made into an ointment is good for burns. 

Green Collection. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 153 (boil goose 
excrement in fat or oil; pour off and smear on the burn). Radford, 52. 

978 Put lard and soda on burns. 

Mary L. Walker, Durham county. Cf. South: Puckett, 387 (a piece 
of fat meat [Negro]) — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 38 (bicar- 
bonate of soda) — Mississippi: Hudson, 151, No. 3 (the grease of dish 
water) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 173, No. 21 (soda paste) — Ontario: 
Doering, Customs, 152 (moistened bicarbonate of soda) — Indiana: 
Halpert, Cures, 7 (grease) — Texas: Woodhull, 18-19 (grease) — 
Midwest: Odell, 220, No. 5 (baking soda moistened with saliva) — 
Nebraska: Black, 18, No. 21 (a paste of lard and baking soda) ; 17, 
No. 10 (grease) ; No. 12 (soda) — New Mexico: Moya, 74, No. 114 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 137 

(a mixture of wax, turpentine, lard, and flour [Spanish]), 68, No. 16 
(a mixture of lard and salt [Spanish]). 

979 Apply a poultice of balsam juice to burns. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). 

980 For burns, apply a poultice of elm bark with enough water 

to thicken. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. 

981 The way to cure a burn is to burn some heart leaves and 
mix with homemade lard and put it on the burn. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. Tennessee: 
Rogers, 27 (a plaster made of heart leaves, hog's hair burned to a cinder, 
mixed with tallow or grease). 

982 Crushed plantain leaves are good for burns. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

983 Scraped Irish potato is good for a burn. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Nova Scotia: Crieghton, 87, No. 12 — 
hidiana: Halpert, Cures, 7 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4739 — loiva: Stout, 
Nos. 941, 1008 — Nebraska: Black, 18, No. 22 — California: Loomis, 
Medicine, 118. 

984 Apply a poultice of tea leaves and raw potato to burns. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4741 (tea leaf poultice) — 
Nebraska: Black, 18, No. 26 (wet tea leaves) — Idaho: Lore, 208. 

985 To cure a burn, use kerosene oil. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Mississippi: Hudson, 
151, No. 4 (coal oil). 

986 For burns, use linseed oil. 

Anonymous. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 38 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4736 (flaxseed poultice) — Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191. 

987 Put soap on a burn to take the fire out. 

Marjorie Rea, Craven county. Nebraska: Black, 18, No. 23 (cover with 
a lather of soft soap). 

988 IVIud is good for burns. 
Edith Walker, Watauga county. 

989 Skim the top of water in a ditch and apply to a burn to 
ease the pain. 

Newspaper Clipping, South Carolina (?). Texas: Woodhull, 18-19 
(water is important for burns). 

990 Charcoal (dead fire coals), beaten fine and mixed with 
lard, draws fire out of burns. 

Green Collection. California: Loomis, Medicine, 118 (a piece of cold 
charcoal). 



138 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

991 Hold burns to the fire. 

Mary L. Walker, Durham county, and the Green Collection. South 

Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 39 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 25 (hold near 
a hot stove) — Mississippi: Hudson, 151, No. i — New York: Relihan, 
Remedies, 82 (put the part burned back onto the thing with which you 
were burned) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 7 (the burn should be treated 
before a fire to draw out the inflammation) — Illinois: Allison, No. 107 
(hold the wound over a fire) — Iowa: Stout, No. 1043 — Nebraska: 
Black, 18, No. 19 (burn the same place over again immediately). 

992 It is thought certain people have the power to "talk" fire 
out of a burn. The belief is so strong that when a person re- 
ceives a burn which may be serious, they send for a fire doctor, 
and will let no one do anything at all to relieve the injured. 

George E. Knox (Washington, D. C.) and four other informants from 
central and western counties. The use of verbal charms to cure burns 
is fairly widespread in the literature, but no exact parallels to the present 
item are to be found. Cf., however, Pennsylvania: Owens, 125 — 
Osarks: Randolph, 121 f. Dorson (p. 162) found practitioners in the 
Upper Peninsula of Michigan who claimed that burns could be healed 
over the telephone from as far away as Detroit. 

993 To cure a burn many old people look at the burn, repeat 
some mysterious words to themselves, and then blow the burn. 
They repeat this about three times, and the burn is supposed to 
get well. 

Pearle Webb, Pineola, Avery county, and the Green Collection. Refer- 
ences cited here emphasize "blowing" on the burn, although all involve 
the speaking of magical words of one kind or another: Pennsylvania: 
Bayard, 59 — Indiana: Brewster, Specimens, 364 — Illinois: Wheeler, 
6S. 

994 "The mother of God went over the fiery fields. She had in 
her hand a fiery brand. The fire did go out ; it did not go in. In 
the name of the P'ather, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen." 
(Repeat three times, blow and wet the burnt place each time.) 

H. L. Davis, Hemp, Fannin county, Georgia. The following Pennsyl- 
vania German charm bears some slight resemblance to the present item. 
According to Emma Gertrude White (pp. 78 f.) it is uttered by those 
who "blow out" burns : "The blessed Virgin went over the land. / What 
does she carry in her hand? / A fire-brand. / Eat not in thee. Eat not 
farther around. / In the name of the Father, and of the Son, / And of 
the Holy Ghost." So saying these words, stroke slowly three times with 
your right hand over it, bending the same downward one, two, and three 
times ; and blow three times, each time three times. Of more interest to 
residents of North Carolina is a charm from Henderson county recited by 
"Old Jack Ballard," who claimed the healer's art. He used a charm to 
heal burns that is perhaps more widely known than any other in the 
United States : "There came two angels from the north ; / One brought 
fire, and one brought frost. / Go out fire and come in frost." (JAFL 
xi.ix [1936J, 266). Cf. Bruton, Hclicjs, No. 18, for another North 
Carolina fire charm. Usually in this charm the name of the Trinity 
is invoked. Black, Folk-Medicine, 80 f. ; Radford, 53. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 139 

Cancer 

995 Cancers are produced by bruises. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5658, No. 5664 (if a bruise is 
going to turn into cancer, it will do so within five years or never). 

996 Don't cut moles on your body ; they w^ill turn to cancers. 

Green Collection. Georgia: Steiner, No. 87 (if you cut a mole on your 
body until it bleeds, it will turn into cancer and kill you) — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 341 (if you pull a hair from a mole, you will make a cancer 
of it) ; No. 342 (if you pick a mole, you make a cancer of it). 

997 The best remedy for cancer is alligator fat. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, n.d. 

998 An old-timer declares that cancer can be healed with an 
application of cobwebs. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. 

999 If you drink water in which eggs have been boiled, you 
will have cancers. 

Anonymous. 

1000 A pint of honey a day will cure cancer. 
Edith Walker, Watauga county. 

1 001 A cancer is cured by the ashes of a burnt toad. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. South: Porter, 112 (this cure is 
indicated ; also, living toads are successively applied, themselves taking 
the disease and dying) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 35 (application of an 
oil reduced from a toad sealed in a can with a pound of unsalted butter, 
and placed in the sun). Radford, 56, 127 (frogs). 

1002 Figs are good for cancer. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

1003 Sheep sorrel is good for cancers. 

Anonymous, and the Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5676 (mash 
sheep sorrel and place it where the sun can draw out the oil ; use for 
cancer). 

1004 Take the plant called sour sorrel, boil it, then put the juice 
in a pewter plate. Let this stand in the sun until it forms a 
salve, and then you will have a cure for cancer. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and two other in- 
formants from eastern and central counties. In the Green Collection 
this item is credited to Gale's Almanack, 1825 (no page cited). 

1005 If a person has a cancer, and will tie a string tightly 
around a growing maple sapling, the cancer will be gone by the 
time the tree grows enough to break the string. 

Green Collection. 



140 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1006 "An old woman who claims to be a cancer doctor in our 
county gave this cure for cancer: Take castor oil twice a day 
and apply the oil to the affected part with only three fingers, and 
always rub it on in the form of a cross." 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

Canker 

1007 Among pioneers, doubtless the commonest cure for canker 
was black gunpowder held in the mouth and dissolved against 
the sores. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. 

1008 Another canker remedy among pioneers was a syrup of 
sage leaves, powdered alum, goldenseal and honey. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. 

Carbuncles 

1009 Powdered beetles are applied to carbuncles. 
Anonymous. 

1 010 Fasten a live leech to the carbuncle and allow it to suck 
out the poison blood. 

Green Collection. 

1 01 1 Snails are an old standby for carbuncles. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily Nezvs, March, 1934. 

1 01 2 Comfrey root is a cure for carbuncles. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 209 
(comfrey root is grated in raw fat in the proportion of one to two 
for a salve to treat carbuncles [German]). 

1013 Cypress nuts are used for carbuncles. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily Nezvs, March, 1934. 

Catarrh 

1014 Smoking dried mullein leaves is recommended as a cure 
for catarrh. 

Anonymous, and Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 76 (mullein leaves are chewed) — West 
Virginia: Musick, 6, No. 16 (smoke in a clay pipe) — Kentucky: 
Carter, Mountain, 16 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Toronto, No. 26 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4495 — Nebraska: Black, 14, No. 79 (smoke mullein 
leaves in a pipe). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 141 

Cellulitis 

1015 To cure cellulitis of the leg, tie a silk string around the 
leg and repeat some verse from the Bible. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

Chapping 

1 01 6 To cure chapped lips, rub your finger behind your ear, 
then over your lips. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

1 01 7 For chapped lips, kiss the middle rail of a five-railed 
fence. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 853 — 
Ozarks: Randolph, Ozark, 4 (a girl can cure her chapped lips by 
kissing the middle rail of a five-rail fence, but it is well to put a little 
lard on the lips also). 

Chicken Pox 

1018 When someone has chicken pox, one of the family should 
drive the chickens in the front door and out the back door, and 
it will cure the chicken pox. 

B. L. Umberger, Jr., Concord, Cabarrus county. Cf. Nos. 1019 flf., below. 

1019 "When younguns have got chicken pox you lay 'em down 
on the floor and shoos the chickens out over 'em. Hit'll break 
'em out in two hours. Why the day the baby got 'em I se'd the 
fust bump comin' and I shood the old Dominnecker over her and 
she was all pimpled out in a hour." 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Tennessee: Farr, 
Riddles, No. 2 — Ozarks: Randolph, 147 f. (black hen and chickens are 
brought into the house and forced to walk over the patient's body). 

1020 If a child has chicken pox, put him in a chicken coop for 
a few hours. 

Dixie V. Lamm, Wilson county, and the Green Collection. 

1 02 1 If a child has chicken pox, grease him with chicken grease, 
and put him naked in the chicken house. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 77 (let white chicken 
blood drop on chicken pox blisters). 

1022 If a person who has chicken pox will let the chickens fly 
over him, the disease will be cured. 

Esther F. Royster, Henderson, Vance county, and five other informants 
from eastern and central counties. South: Puckett, 386 (Negro) — 
Tennessee: Farr, Children, No. 37. 



142 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1023 To cure the chicken pox, make (let) chickens (a hen) fly 
over the victim's head before breakfast. 

Ralph Chesson, Washington county. 

1024 To cure chicken pox, get under the chicken roost and 
scare the chickens away. 

Mary L. Walker, Durham county. South: Puckett, 386 (push the 
patient backward into the henhouse [Negro]) — Kentucky: Stuart, 8; 
Thomas, No. 1121 (the victim should sit in the henhouse for an hour) 
— Tennessee: Redfield, No. 75 (scare the chickens off the roost so they 
will fly over your head) — Washington: Tacoma, 27 (the victim is sup- 
posed to sit in a henhouse for an hour). 

1025 For chicken pox, wash in the same water in which a black 
chicken has been scalded. 

Anonymous. Kentucky: Price, 32; Thomas, No. 11 20. 

1026 Go to a hog barn, lie down, roll over three times. Then 
get up, and walk backward thirty-three steps, and the chicken 
pox will be cured. 

Green Collection. 

1027 For chicken pox, or a similar rash, put nine live cellar 
bugs in a small bag around the child's neck. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). 

Chigoes (Chiggers, Jiggers) 

1028 To cure jigger bites, rub the places with an old meatskin. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

1029 To get rid of chiggers, spray houses, nests, coops, etc. 
with boiling cedar water. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1030 To kill chiggers, rub their heads with snuff. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1 03 1 Tobacco leaves should be placed in the nests to keep down 
chiggers. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1032 Spray chiggers with boiling tobacco water to kill them. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1033 Bathe in salty water, and it will kill the jiggers. 
Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 143 

1034 Tie a kerosene string below the knees, and jiggers will 
not bother you. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 
180 (use kerosene on pant legs and shoe tops) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4505 (put five drops of turpentine on a half teaspoonful of sugar and 
eat). 

1035 For chigoe (jigger), spray houses, nests, coops, etc., with 
kerosene. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1036 A mixture of lime and sulphur is put in nests to kill 
chiggers. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1037 Put salt and butter upon chigoe bites to kill them. 
Marie Harper, Durham county. 

1038 Take sulphur during the chigoe season and they won't get 
on you. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and an anonymous informant. 

1039 To keep from getting jiggers, rub the legs and arms with 
a plentiful supply of sulphur. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

Chilblain (s) 

1040 Undoubtedly the best cure for chilblain is a walk of about 
two hundred yards barefooted in the snow. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Ontario: Knortz, 100 (whoever bathes his 
feet in the water of the first snow will not get chilblains) — Idaho: Lore, 
208. Udall, 179. 

1041 For chilblain, soak the feet in warm water to which horse 
dung has been added. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Nebraska: Black, 40, No. 14 (cook chicken 
manure and pour off the liquid ; make a poultice of the residue and apply) 
— Idaho: Lore, 208. 

1042 To cure chilblain, hold the feet in the smoke of burning 
corn meal. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. 

1043 Rub your feet with kerosene and salt for chilblain. 
Anonymous. 

1044 Apply a paste of gunpowder and lard to chilblains. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. 



144 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Chills 

1045 If you sit in the sun, it will give you chills. 
Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1046 Catch a caterpillar, wrap it up in a small piece of cloth, 
tie it up in a ground pea shell, tie it around your neck, and you 
will not have a single other chill. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 3768 (if you sit in the sun and 
look at a yellow caterpillar, you will have a chill) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
(same as previous reference). 



1047 Take a "granddaddy" and pull all of his legs off. Then 
make his body up in some dough and give it to the patient. The 
patient will have no more chills. 

B. P. Aikin. Cf. No. 1051, below. 

1048 When you see somebody having a chill, slip a granddaddy 
longlegs down his back. Before the man can get it out, the chill 
is gone and he'll not have another. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 1051, below. 

1049 Cut off a piece of your hair, a piece of each of your toe- 
nails and fingernails ; tie them all up in a rag, and tie all to a 
frog's leg. He will hop away with your chills. 

Anonymous. Cf. South: Puckett, 365 (tie a live frog to the patient's big 
toe, and the chill will go out of the patient into the frog). 

1050 To cure chills, catch a frog and hold it in your hand until 
it dies. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). Georgia: Campbell, 2 (a bullfrog squeezed to 
death in the hand cures chills). 

1 05 1 For chills, rub a spider web into the body. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. Cf. Illinois: Allison, No. 127 (make cob- 
web pills and take them for chills). 

1052 To cure chills, put a toad under a pot, and walk around 
the pot three times. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1053 To cure chills, take a live toad-frog, put it in a sack, or 
wrap it in paper, and put it down the patient's back. If the 
frog dies the chill will leave. 

Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham county. 

1054 If you feel a chill coming on, get a toad-frog, or have one 
got, put it in a paper bag, and hold in your lap fifteen minutes. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 145 

The chill will go into the frog. Then put him out on the ground, 
and he will shake himself to death. 

Josie Foy, Durham. 

1055 In the spring, gather alder tags, put them in water, and 
drink it for chills. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4835 
(boil the green bark of elder in milk and drink for chills). 

1056 Give a tea made of boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) for 
chills. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and Mrs. Maude 
Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Tennessee: Rogers, 17 (bone- 
set, which is sometimes called center weed, was drunk as a tea for 
chills and fever) — Osarks: Randolph, 107. 

1057 Pull up a bunch of broom straw, blow under it, plant it 
back again, say nothing about it to anybody, and you will stop 
having chills. 

Anonymous. 

1058 Buckeye is used as a cure for chills. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Mississippi: Puckett, 366 (carry a 
buckeye in the pocket to prevent chills [JNegroJ) — Alabama: iJergen, 
Animal, No. 1129 (buckeye carried in pocket LNegroJ) — California: 
Dresslar, 116 (wear a horse-chestnut to prevent chills). Cf. No. 1070, 
below. 

1059 Calamus is good for chills. 
Anonymous. 

1060 Cherry tree bark and poplar bark and whiskey are used to 
break chills. 

Julian P. Boyd. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4848 (wild cherry bark and 
whiskey). Cf. No. 1073, below. 

1061 A spoonful of corn meal in a glass of cold water will cure 
a chill. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4829 (a tea of corncobs 
is good for chills). 

1062 For chills people take fodder blades and make a tea. It is 
said to be a sure cure. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. 

1063 A tea made of horehound will cure chills. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1064 Take seventy-seven ground ivy leaves in a pint cup, go to 
a spring and catch the cup full of water, take three cups of the 



146 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

water, throw what is left backwards over the shoulder into the 
branch, and go home without looking back. Do this when you 
feel yourself taking a chill. 

Ethel Brown, Catawba county. 

1065 When you feel a chill coming on, eat a lemon and it will 
keep it off. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4833 (lemon 
juice with a beaten egg and whiskey). 

1066 If you have a chill every other day, eat a lemon on the day 
which you are due to have it. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. 

1067 To cure chills, carry an Irish potato in your pocket. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. South: Puckett, 365 (cut 
out as many knots [eyes] from a potato as you have had chills, and 
give it to a hog who will "eat up the chills" with the potato [Negro]) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1124. Cf. No. 2017, below (rheumatism). 

1068 Red dogwood bark made into a tea with whiskey is used 
as a tonic for chills. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 15 (dogwood bark and other 
ingredients — but not whiskey — made into a tea) — Texas: Turner, 168 
(a sure cure for chills is to go to a dogwood tree before sunrise and 
stand beside it till the sun rises). 

1069 For chills, wear red pepper in the shoes. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. South: Puckett, 365 (Negro) — Mary- 
land: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1717. 

1070 Take two large pods of red pepper and shake the seed out, 
slip the pods over the big toes, and tie. When the pepper stops 
burning the toes, the chills will be cured. 

N. L. Stack, Pasquotank county. Cf. South: Puckett, 366 (wear around 
the waist a domestic sack half full of salt into which nine grains of red 
pepper and four buckeyes have been put). 

1 07 1 Give a tea made of red pepper and cinchona to cure chills. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Tennessee: Rogers, 49 
(black pepper in brandy for fever and accompanying chills). 

1072 White briar rod keeps off chills. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 366 (briars strung around the neck 
will cure chills and fever) . 

1073 The root and bark of the wild cherry tree made into a tea 
with whiskey is used as a tonic for chills. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4848. Cf. No. 1060, above, and 
No. 1088, below. 



SUPKRSTITIONS: BODY, FOLK MEDICINE I47 

1074 Willow tea will cure chills. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4849 (willow bark tea). 

1075 Drink willow bark with alcohol to cure chills. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. South: Puckett, 366 (willow 
roots and sprigs, into which have been put nine drops of turpentine and 
nme of camphor.) The willow also figures in a curious Texas magical 
cure: to cure chills, get a branch of button willow, then get eight other 
kmds of tree limbs and tie them together in the fork of the biggest tree 
you can find. Let no one see you do this. Back away nine steps, turn 
around, and don't look back, don't return, and don't talk to anybody 'about 
it (Hatfield, 157 f.). ^ 

1076 For chills, use rock candy, cherry bark, and whiskey. 
Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 1060, 1073, above. 

1077 To cure chills, put a bowl of water under the bed. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Tennessee: McGlasson 15 
No. 6, ibtd., No. 2 (in the bed) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4847. ' ' 

1078 To cure chills, wear around the waist a raw cotton string 
(with as many knots in it as chills) dipped in turpentine. When 
you feel the chill coming, go to bed alongside the bolster, and 
wrap up. When the chill comes, crawl out and let the bolster 
have the chill. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and two other in- 
formants from Durham and Chatham counties. South: Puckett, 365 (tie 
a knot in a piece of string for every chill you have had, and 'fasten it 
about the waist). Cf. examples, Nos. 1081 flf., 1092 flf., below. 

1079 Before your chill time, get in bed, but put your head on a 
bolster mstead of on a pillow. When you feel the chill coming 
on, slip the bolster in your place and creep, right easy, under the 
bed. The chill will seize the bolster instead of you. 
Anonymous. Cf. New York: Relihan, Remedies, 83 (a patient afflicted 
with chills and fever should wrap himself tightly in a sheet, run around 
the house three times and jump under the bed. Thus the chill jumps into 
the bed and he misses it). 

1080 Cut a notch in a piece of wood for every chill you have 
had, blow on it, and throw it into a running stream where you 
never expect to pass again. Go home without looking back, and 
you will never have any more chills. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 1811 (cut a notch in a stick for every chill, blow your breath on it' 
and throw it into a running stream). Cf. No. 1083, below. 

1 081 Take a cord and tie it around the body, and then take it 
oiit and tie the other end to a pine tree. Then sleep one night 
with the cord fixed this way, and the chills will leave. 

J. C. Paisley. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1812 (for chills and 
fever, tie a piece of yarn taken from your stocking around a pine tree 
then walk around the tree three times a day for nine days). ' 



148 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1082 Tie as many knots in a string as you have had chills, tie 
the string to a growing tree, and you will have no more chills. 

Anonymous. Cf. South: Puckett, 365 (tie a knot in a piece of string for 
every chill that you have; then tie the string to a persimmon tree) — 
Georgia: Steiner, No. 81 (for chills and fever, after you have had three 
or four chills, tie as many knots in a cotton string as you have had chills; 
then go into the woods and tie the string to a persimmon tree, turn around 
and walk away without looking back) — Ozarks: Randolph, 134 (knotted 
string around a persimmon tree). 

1083 Chills are cured by wearing a string with a certain number 
of knots for three days, and then putting the string into cold 
running water. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 1080 above for an example of transference of 
the disease by means of a notched stick in running water. In Maryland 
the disease is transferred to any person who happens to pick up the 
knotted string which has been thrown away (Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1816), whereas in the Ocark country the knotted silk thread is buried 
under the drip from the roof of a barn. There are other details to this 
ritual, which should be consulted in Randolph (p. 134) ; likewise the 
practice of driving a hickory peg a foot long into the ground in a secluded 
spot and pulling it out again, blowing seven times into the hole, etc., for 
twelve days (ibid.). 

1084 To prevent chills, wet a string in turpentine and wear it 
around your neck (waist). 

Anonymous. 

Chills and Fever 

1085 It is bad luck to kill a buzzard. You will have chills and 
fevers. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

1086 If you mock a dove, you will have chills and fever. 
Anonymous. 

1087 If you hear an owl hooting near your house, someone in 
the family is going to have chills and fever. 

Anonymous. 

1088 Drink a tea made of cherry tree bark for chills and fever. 
Anonymous. Cf. references in Nos. 1060, 1073, above. 

1089 Drink sassafras tea during the months of February and 
March, and you will not have chills or fever, 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4842 (chills 
only). 

1090 Yellow drick is a good cure for chills and fever. 
Anonymous. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 149 

1 091 Wear salt in your shoe for chills or fevers. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. South: Puckett, 
365 (Negro) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4841. Both items for chills only. 

1092 To cure chills and fever, tie two doubles of your string 
around your waist. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 1078, 1081 ff., above. 

1093 Soak a yarn string in turpentine and tie it around your 
waist as a cure for chills and fever. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 1078, 1081 ff., above. 

1094 To cure chills and fever, knot a string and tie it to a per- 
simmon tree. 

Helen Fraser Smith. Cf. references in No. 1082, above. 

1095 To cure chills and fever, make a band, or large thread, of 
black wool, from a black sheep, or black spotted sheep, fasten it 
around the waist, next to the body of the sick one, then let the 
person walk around a persimmon tree as many times as he has 
had chills. This is supposed to be a sure cure. 

Dorothy Kanoy, Fayetteville, Cumberland county. 

1096 To cure chills and fever, cross a stream channel. 
Anonymous. 

Colds 

1097 If your throat itches, it is a sign you are going to have a 
bad cold. 

Anonymous. 

1098 To keep off a cold, wear a sow bug around your neck. 
Madge Colclough, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1131. 

1099 Asafetida is used to ward off possible spring diseases, such 
as colds. 

J. Schaffner. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 2 (because of its obnoxious odor) 
— loiva: Stout, No. 832, No. 858 (asafetida soaked in camphor and 
worn about the neck) — Nebraska: Black, 11, No. 13 (eat asafetida as 
well as wear it around your neck). No. 4 (three tablespoons of asafetida 
mixed in a quart of whiskey and drunk). 

1 1 00 To cure a cold, eat a great deal, and drink a great deal of 
water. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South: Puckett, 370 
(drink ice water before going to bed) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 15. No. 
2 (drink a lot of cold water). 



150 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

iioi There is a common saying, "Feed a cold and starve a 
fever." 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 
474 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 281 — Pennsylvania: Shoemaker, 3 (feed 
a cold and starve a fever, and both are soon over) — Indiana: Halpert, 
Cures, 2 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4851. See the general reference in Nos. 
1 1 02, 141 o f., below. 

1 102 "Stuff a cold and starve a fever." 

Furman Bridgers, Wilson county. North Carolina: Whiting, 386, s.v. 
"Cold." Cf. No. IIOI, above. For an historical treatment of this saying, 
see S. A. Gallacher, "Stuff a Cold and Starve a Fever," Bulletin of the 
History of Medicine xi (1942), 576-581. Cf. No. 1410, below. 

1 103 "Perish a fever, feed a cold." 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. No. iioi, above. 

1 104 "There is an old woman in my community whom the peo- 
ple depend on when they get sick. When anyone has a cold, she 
gives them some tea made from some root." 

James Hawfield, Union county. 

1 105 Drink tea made of boneset, a bitter herb found on 
branches, and your cold will be gone by morning. 

Green Collection, and Edith Walker, Watauga county. North Carolina: 
Bruton, Medicine, No. 10 (it will ease pain from a cold and "sweat" 
you) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 15, No. 9 — New York: Relihan, Farm 
Lore, 157 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4859. 

1 1 06 Catnip tea is good for colds. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Ontario: Wintemberg, 
Waterloo, 11 — New York: Gardner, 262 f. — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4862. Cf. No. 1 1 20, below. 

1 107 Hot ginger tea (with no water after it), taken just before 
retiring, is fine for colds. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 
85 — New York: Smith, Andes, 2gy — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
132 (a tea made of wild ginger [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4870 — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk Cures, 82 — lozva: Stout, No. 853 — 
Nebraska: Black, 12, No. 21 — Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191. 

1 108 Horehound syrup is a cure for colds. 

Green Collection. Cf. Texas: Guinn, 268 (take horehound and honey). 
Cf. Nos. 1 109, 1 124, below. 

1 109 Horehound tea or candy is good for a cold. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. In the following references tea is indi- 
cated unless otherwise noted: South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 86 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 394 (horehound tea or candy) — Ontario: 
Wintemberg, Grey No. 132 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 130 (hore- 
hound candy in whiskey [German]) ; Lick-Brendle, 38 (German) — 



superstitions: uody, folk medicine 151 

Illi)wis: Allison, No. 99 — Ozarks: Randolph, 93 (directions for brewing 
the tea are given) ; Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162 — Texas: WoodhuU, 52 — 
Nebraska: Black, 12, No. 18. 

1 1 10 Drink mullein tea for colds. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 370 (mullein leaves 
made into a tea, or put into a shoe) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 11 26 — 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 15, No. 8 — Nova Scotia: Crcighton, 89, No. 20 
— Ontario, Wintemberg, IVaterloo. 11 (tea made from the flowers of 
mullein) — Pcnnsyhania: Brendle-Unger, 144 (German) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4882 — Ozarks: Randolph, 93 — Texas: Hatfield, 159; 
Woodhull, 52 (the leaves arc gathered when the mullein plant is in 
bloom) — Nebraska: Black, 11, No. 5 (gather leaves when the plant 
is in bloom). 

nil Root of mullein, stewed together with wild cherry bark, 
brown sugar, and a little vinegar, is a remedy for colds. 
Green Collection. Cf. No. 11 10, above, No. 1124, below. 

1 1 12 For a cold, eat onions, preferably roasted ones. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and J. Schaflfner. 
General: Bergen, Animal, No. 1301 — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, 
No. 77 — Tennessee: McGlasson, 15, No. 7 (eat an onion every day to 
keep away colds) — Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 64 — Indiana: Halpert, 
Cures, 2 — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 74 (eaten raw or cooked) ; 
Smith, Folk Cures, 82 — Nebraska: Black, 11, No. 15. 

1 1 13 Hot onion syrup (with no water after it), taken just be- 
fore retiring, is fine for colds. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. Kentucky: Sanders, 22 (to loosen a 
cold) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 180, No. 161 (syrup made of onions, 
butter, brown sugar [French]) — Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 64 
(roast an onion in the coals of a fireplace and eat with brown sugar) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 130 (juice of roasted onion with brown 
sugar [German]) ; Grumbine, 281 (same as previous item, with additional 
details as to how the syrup is made [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 
4883 ff. — loiva: Stout, No. 834; No. 870 (onions and honey); No. 
976 (directions for making the syrup are given) — Oklahoma: Smith, 
Folk Cures, 82 (cold medicine for babies) — Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191 
(onion juice and honey) — Idaho: Lore, 210 (syrup of onions). For 
onions in poultices, cf. No. 1127, below. 

1 1 14 Hot pepper vinegar will cure a bad cold. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Texas: Lewis, 267 ("hot vinegar," water, sugar, 
and butter). Cf. No. 1x35, below. 

1 1 15 To cure a cold, take the green needles from the pine, boil 
them, sweeten the water, and drink it while it is hot. This is 
known as pine top tea. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. South: Puckett, 369 (pine top 
sweetened with honey) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4891. 



152 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1 1 16 Make a strong tea from young pine leaves, keeping the 
lid on the pot in which they are boiled. Breathe the fumes from 
the tea and it will break up a cold. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. No. 11 15, above. 

1 1 17 Red dogwood bark tea put into whiskey keeps colds away. 
Julia McRae. 

1 1 18 Rhubarb is good for colds. 
J. Schaffner. 

1 1 19 Rosemary tea is good for colds. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. South Carolina: 
Bryant 11, 139, No. 88 — Jamaica: Beckwith, Jamaica, No. 106. 

1 120 Sage tea is good for colds. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. West Virginia: 
Sanders, 19 — Jamaica: Beckwith, No. 131 — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 
91 — Nezv York: Relihan, Farm Lore, 157 (heat a bag of sage and put 
it around the neck) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 2 — Illinois: Allison, 
No. 91 (soak the feet in hot water, drink sage tea and go to bed) ; 
Hyatt, No. 4893; No. 4894 (sage tea mixed with honey) — Iowa: Stout, 
No. 864 (same as Allison reference) — Nebraska: Black, 11, No. 12 (a 
tea of sage and catnip). 

1 121 Take a teaspoonful of sugar wet with kerosene, and it will 
cure a bad cold. 

Rosa Efird, Stanly county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 82 — 
West Virginia: Sanders, 20 (for cold in chest) — Tennessee: Rogers, 
26 — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 2 (a mixture of sugar and coal oil) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4864 (coal oil and sugar) — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk 
Cures, 82 — loiva: Stout, No. 867b — Nezv Mexico: Moya, 73 (Spanish). 

1 122 A package of fine cut tobacco, a package of raisins, and a 
cup of lard, cooked together, to which, when cool, is added a 
large spoon of boric acid, will cure a cold. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. New York: Gardner, 263 (tobacco tea) — 
Idaho: Lore, 208. 

1 1 23 An infusion of yarrow leaves is good for a cold. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 
179, No. 155 (yarrow and goldenrod steeped and made into a syrup by 
adding sugar [French]) — Ontario: Wintcmberg, Toronto, No. 25. 

1 1 24 Wild cherry bark is used for colds. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: Frazier, 34, No. 10 (syrup of cherry bark 
and horehound) ; McGlasson, 15, No. 3 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
129 (both the inner and outer bark of wild cherry was used, with or 
without whiskey) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4904 (cherry bark tea) ; No. 
4905 (cherry bark and flaxseed). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 1 53 

1 1 25 To cure colds, put water in a coffee can, and just before 
it boils, add a little spirits of turpentine and a little kerosene. 

Green Collection. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 80 (turpentine, 
kerosene, camphor, and hog lard made into a poultice on a flannel chest 
cloth) — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 23 (turpentine, coal oil, and lard used 
as a chest plaster) — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 81 (turpentine, kerosene, 
and sugar mixed and taken internally) — Texas: Lewis, 267 f. (turpen- 
tine and coal oil on a flannel cloth applied to the chest) — loiva: Stout, 
No. 845 (turpentine, lard, camphor, and kerosene rubbed into chest or 
throat). 

11 26 Rub chest, palms, and soles of the feet with goose grease 
to cure colds. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county, and J. Frederick Doering, Dur- 
ham. South: Puckett, 370 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1127 — Ontario: 
Doering, Folk Medicine, 197 — Illinois: Allison, No. 86; Hyatt, No. 4871 
(run downward with goose grease, first on the chest, then in the palms 
of the hands and finally over the feet; and this will drive the cold out 
of your body through your feet) — Iowa: Stout, No. 825 — Nebraska: 
Black, II, No. 8; 12, No. 27 (rub the chest, the palms of the hands, and 
the soles of the feet with goose grease). 

11 27 A poultice of goose grease and onion juice is good for 
colds. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Pennsylvania: Rupp, 255, No. 18 (goose grease 
mixed with wine, applied externally to throat and chest [German]) — 
Idaho: Lore, 208. 

1 1 28 Chests greased with hog's foot oil and covered with red 
flannel will cure coughs and colds. 

Green Collection. The use of hog's hoof tea (i.e., a tea made of the skin 
of hog's hoofs) is noted from such widely separated areas as the South 
(Puckett, 369), Illinois (Hyatt, No. 4873), and Oklahoma (Smith, 
Animals, 76). 

1 1 29 Rub in a mixture of homemade lard, camphor, and qui- 
nine for colds. 

Anonymous. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 179, No. 149 (rub chest with whiskey 
and camphor), No. 151 (olive oil and camphor [French]) — Nebraska: 
Black, 12, No. 20 (camphor and lard). 

1 1 30 A mixture of one teaspoonful of melted lard, one of tur- 
pentine, and two of kerosene, applied to both chest and back, 
will cure a cold. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. Cf. the references cited in No. 
1125, above. 

1 131 For colds in the chest, take a yarn cloth, rub it over with 
mutton tallow ; then put snuff on it, and apply to the chest. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 26 
(mutton tallow on a flannel cloth) ; O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 (a flannel 
cloth sprinkled with a mixture of turpentine, lamp oil, and camphor) — 



154 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 179 f., Nos. 158, 162 (mutton tallow on brown 
paper applied as a plaster [French]) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
130 (tallow heated and smeared over the inflamed part and a red woolen 
rag bound on [German]). 

1 132 Put mustard plasters on the feet, if the cold is in the head. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Kentucky: Sanders, 22 
(mustard foot baths for colds). Cf. Nebraska: Black 11, No. 3 
(mixture of mustard and flour and water and spread between two cotton 
or woolen cloths) ; cf. also p. 12, No. 23 — Idaho: Lore. 210 (soak feet 
in bucket of hot mustard water). 

1 133 Rub affected parts with emulsion of oil, turpentine, kero- 
sene, and camphor to cure colds. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. South Carolina: 
Bryant 11, 139, No. 80 — Quebec: Marie Ursule, 179, No. 154 (turpen- 
tine mixed with lard applied to the chest with a cotton cloth, and then 
covered with flannel [French]. Cf. references also in No. 1125, above. 

1 134 An ointment of peppermint, turpentine, and kerosene, 
heated and rubbed in, will clear up colds. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 208. 

1 1 35 A pint of vinegar, a slice of bacon, and a goodly amount 
of black pepper, mixed, and applied to affected parts, is good 
for colds. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 83 (vine- 
gar, salt and pepper) — Idaho: Lore, 208. 

1 1 36 Tar plasters where the chest is sore are good for colds. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Iowa: Stout, No. 
880 (rub pine tar on the chest and back, and cover with a woolen 
jacket). 

1 1 37 Inhale the smoke from tar for a cold. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 
u, 139, No. 84 (use tar for colds) — West Virginia: Sanders, 20 (kero- 
sene on flannel) — Tennessee: Rogers, 22 (water off tar was drunk for 
colds; the tar was put in water kept in cedar buckets) — Iowa: Stout, 
No. 867a (take equal parts of tar and honey internally). 

1 138 Wear red flannel underclothes to keep off colds in the 
winter. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

1 1 39 Remove your flannels on the first day of May and you 
won't take cold. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and two other informants from 
Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2431; Price, 30 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4852. Cf. No. 479, above. 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 155 

1140 Wear a piece of red flannel over the chest for colds or 
chest trouble. Sometimes hog's-foot oil, kerosene, and salt are 
heated and soaked in the flannel. The flannel must be lost 
[loosed?] rather than removed suddenly. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, and Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person 
county. Cf. Ontario: Waugh, No. 278 (the flannel is aired, but not 
washed; when it is unfit for further use, a fresh piece is applied) — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 88. Cf. Nos. 1125, 1131, 1136, above, for repre- 
sentative uses made of flannel and woolen coverings. 

1 141 For a cold, tie a wet cotton string around the neck, and let 
it stay overnight. 

Carl G. Knox, Brunswick County. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 11 50 (a 
string around the neck) ; also. No. 1149 (a hemp string around the great 
toe of the left foot) — Osarks: Randolph, 154 (red woolen string around 
the neck; also leather bands) — Nebraska: Black, 42, No. 22 (a string of 
greased yarn). 

1 142 For colds, bake the soles of the feet by the fire. 
Vella Jane Burch, Durham county. 

1 143 Bake your feet good before the fire just before retiring, 
and run around the house three times barefooted in the snow^ to 
cure a cold.* 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 

1 144 To prevent colds, wear a piece of lead around the neck on 
a string, the lead resting in the hollow of the neck. 

Green Collection. 

1145 For colds, put a hair or a piece of toenail of the patient 
into a hole of a tree or stump. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1132 
— Washington: Tacoma, 27. 

1 146 If one sneezes seven times, it will be a sure relief for a 
cold. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Alabama: Bergen, Current, No. 1433 (if you 
sneeze thrice, it is a sign of a cold) ; Knortz, 138 (three times before 
breakfast) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 18 (sneezing three times 
in succession means your cold is breaking up) — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 134 (sneezing is a sign of a cold) ; Phillips, 163, No. 5 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 3283 (sneezing is a sign of a cold). Kanner, 558. 

Colic 

1 147 For colic, stand the sick person on his head and shake him. 

Anonymous. Radford, 85 (stand the person on his head for a quarter of 
an hour) ; Black, Folk-Medicine, 183. Cf. No. 287, above. 



156 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1 1 48 To cure colic, place the sick person on his belly and put 
your knees against the small of his back. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 286, above. 

1 149 To cure colic, lie on your belly, and have someone beat 
you on the back. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 286, above. 

1 1 50 If an old person has colic, cup him. This is done by 
taking a tumbler or any drinking cup and burning a piece of 
paper in it. When the air is expelled, invert it over the abdo- 
men. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1 151 Eggs laid on Friday will cure colic. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county, and Madge Colclough, Dur- 
ham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1139 — Ontario: Wintemberg, 
Waterloo, 11 (if before breakfast on Easter morning you suck a raw egg 
that was laid on Good Friday, it will keep you from getting colic the 
rest of the year [Amish]) — New York: Relihan, Remedies, 82. 

1 1 52 For renal colic, the dried and povv^dered inner skin of a 
chicken's gizzard is an excellent remedy. 

Green Collection. Georgia: Campbell, 2 (the dried lining of a chicken 
gizzard is chewed for coHc). 

1 1 53 Catch a black hen after dark and boil it, feathers and all, 
in one pot; then feed the broth to the sick person, and he will 
recover immediately. 

Robert E. Long, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4347 (tea made from white lime of chicken droppings) — Texas: 
Turner, 167 (same as above). 

1 1 54 Powdered grasshoppers is a cure for colic. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, n.d. 

1 1 55 Chew a piece of calamus root for the colic. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county ; Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh ; also 
Green Collection. Cf. No. 289, above. 

1 1 56 For colic, boil catnip leaves, add a little sugar, and give to 
the child to drink. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. West Virginia: Musick, 6, 
No. 24 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 20, 172 — Osarks: Randolph, 
Folk-Beliefs, 81 ; Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162. Cf. No. 290, above. 

1 1 57 "Colic weed," a white weed with yellow flowers and 
square-shaped leaves, is good for the colic. Make a brew of the 
roots. 

Green Collection. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 1 57 

1 1 58 Get the roots from a plant known as "colic root." Chew 
them after they are dried, or pour boiling water over them, and 
drink. This tea will cure the worst cramp colic in five minutes. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

11 59 Flag-root tea is used for colic. 

Green Collection, and Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1 1 60 For colic, ginger tea is regarded as particularly assuaging. 
Many teas were brewed by the Indians of this region. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 197 
(use of ginger for colic among Pennsylvania Germans of Waterloo county, 
Ontario, was adopted from the Indians). 

11 61 Ginseng root comforts colics. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 140, No. 
115 (a tea made from ginseng root was given to babies for colic). 

1 1 62 To cure colic in adults, administer mulberry-root tea. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1 163 A teaspoonful of grated mustard in a glass of hot water 
will cure the colic. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Nos. 293 f., above. 

1 1 64 To cure the colic, take a spoonful of black pepper. 
Anonymous. 

11 65 Take home-cured tobacco, pound it into a powder, make 
a pill out of it, and give as a cure for the colic. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Nos. 293 £., above. 

1 1 66 Sampson-snakeroot tea cures colic. 
Anonymous. 

11 67 Drink tonsey [tansy] tea to cure the colic. 

Anonymous. 

1168 Drink "pain-killer" as a cure for colic. 

Anonymous. 

11 69 To cure colic, give the patient Smutt tea. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1 1 70 Three glasses of warm water will cure the colic. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 20, 
23 (a spoonful of the baby's baptismal water is good for colic) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4363 (give a little water to an infant as soon as it 
is born, and the child will never have colic) — Ozarks: Randolph, 149 



158 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

(the mother holds the baby upright, walks three steps backward without 
speaking, and then gives the child a drink of water from a brass thimble) . 

1 171 Boil a quarter and drink the water, and it will cure the 
colic. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Lucille Massey, Durham 
county. 

1 1 72 Drink salt water to cure the colic. 
Anonymous. 

1 1 73 To cure colic, drink cooking soda. 
Anonymous. 

1 1 74 Take kerosene as a cure for colic. 
Anonymous. 

1 1 75 To cure the colic, blow smoke up one's clothes. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 293 f., above. Radford, 85 (jumping through 

Midsummer bonfires). 

1 1 76 To cure coHc in adults, give salts. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1 1 77 Apply hot poultices (hot flannels wet in vinegar or tur- 
pentine) to cure colic. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 173 (hot flannel cloths). 

1 1 78 Turn a bottle upside down, and it will cure the colic. 
Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. 

Colitis 

1 1 79 Stew wild dewberry roots and strain to make a tea for 
colitis. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

Complexion 

1 1 80 Lemon is good to whiten the complexion. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Cf. Nos. 21 11 f{., below. 

1 181 Take rhubarb stems and leaves, ring them up, and pour 
boiling water over them. Drink this tea and it will clear the 
complexion. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Nos. 21 11 fif., below. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 159 

1 1 82 Drink tansy tea to clear your complexion. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Nos. 211 1 ff., below. 

1 1 83 For clearing the complexion, there is no better application 
than a liquid made from dogwood bark and cinders taken from 
an old field where stumps have been burned. 

Anonymous. 

Constipation 

11 84 Maple sap is used as a laxative. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

1 185 For severe constipation, cook a package of fine-cut to- 
bacco in a quart of boiling water and strain. Use a pint as an 
enema, and if necessary repeat with a second pint. This may 
slightly inebriate the patient, but the effect will soon pass. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 214 f. 

1186 Tea made from the stem of the Virginia creeper is used 
as a purgative. 

F. C. Brown, Durham. 

Consumption 

11 87 "Folks with consumption gits wuss when the sap goes 
down in the fall ; if one lives till the sap rises in the spring, he's 
mighty apt to last till hit goes down." 

Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Cf. Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 141 (consumptives die either in the spring when the 
leaves appear on the tree, or in the fall when they drop from the trees). 

[ 188 As a cure for consumption, find a cat without a white hair, 
and take a tablespoonful of blood from its tail. 

Anonymous. Cf. South: Puckett, 370 (cured by gravy stewed from 
a black cat [Negro]) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Animal. No. 768 (put 
on a freshly stripped skin of a black cat) — Illinois: Smith 11, 69, No. 5 
(a cat-skin placed on the chest) — Rio Grande: Berdau, 383 (a cat is 
killed at new moon, its bones removed, and the patient rubbed from head 
to foot ; the skin is then tied to the chest, and the patient made to drink 
the cat's blood mixed with water drawn at night) ; Bourke, 123 (essential- 
ly the same as above, except that a black cat is specified). 

1 1 89 Snail flesh is used for consumption. 

George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily Aden's, n. d. Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 1145 (eat a snail each morning for nine mornings). No. 1146 (eat 
three snails in the morning and three at night ; then three or four days 
later drink a gill of cow's water and four gills of new milk mixed). 



l60 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1 190 Cherry-tree bark tea is good if used in the first stage of 
consumption. Later, when coughing begins, use honey or rock 
candy in the tea. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1 191 Mullein tea is a cure for consumption. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Idaho: Lore, 210. From the Idaho 
World, Oct. 18, 1878: "The flower of the mullein plant made into a 
strong tea, sweetened with sugar and taken freely has cured a number 
of cases." 

1 192 Red dogwood, cherry-tree bark, and honey are good for 
the cough of consumptives. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 181 
(one handful each of elecampane, dogwood bark, wild cherry bark, and 
hops, added to two quarts of water and boiled down to one quart; add 
a pound of sugar and boil down to one pint [German]). 

1 193 Mustang liniment is a cure for consumption. 
Green Collection. 

1 1 94 Whiskey is good as a preventive of consumption. 

Green Collection. "Mr. J U is a heavy drinker for this 

reason ; he says he has thus far kept it oflf." 

1 195 Saw a lightwood knot and use the sawdust in whiskey. 
Drink it to cure consumption. 

Green Collection. An old remedy in North Carolina, being documented, 
according to Paul Green, in Turner's North Carolina Almanac for 1870. 

Convulsions 

1 196 Never sweep under the bed of a sick person with a new 
broom; he will have convulsions. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 701 ff., above. 

1 1 97 Pour whiskey on roaches to stop convulsions. 
Anonymous. 

Corns 

1 198 To remove a corn, rub it with spittle before you get up 
in the morning. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. General: Knortz, 131 (no time indi- 
cated) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3994 (saliva applied with a piece of cot- 
ton) ; No. 3995 (first spittle in the morning). No. 3997 (app'y night 
and morning) ; Smith 11, 69, No. 6 (no time indicated) — Midivest: 
Odell, 220, No. 4 (applied with cotton), 221, No. 11 — Nebraska: 
Black 35, No. 38. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine i6i 

1 1 99 If you have a corn on your toe, you can take it off by 
spitting on your finger and rubbing your finger over the corn. 
Do this for nine mornings before you speak to anyone. 

Anonymous, and Odus Rupe (Kentucky). Prince Edzvard Island: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 849 (fasting spittle for nine mornings, but no 
prohibition of silence) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3996; No. 3998 (night and 
morning for six months rub saliva on a corn to make it leave). 

1200 To cure corns, cover them with soft soap until they can 
be scraped out ; then wrap them with a turpentine cloth. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. South: Puckett, No. 
381 (laundry soap) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1153 (soft lye soap 
["tub soap"]). The following references refer to turpentine only: IV est 
Virginia: Musick, 7, No. 34 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4001 — New Mexico: 
Moya, 71, No. 64 (turpentine and soap [Spanish]). 

1 201 Take pine "rosum" and mix it with baking "sodie." Tie 
this on the corn each night until it gets well. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1202 Corns can be taken out by a salve made of rosin from a 
turpentine still and lye dripped from an ash hopper. 

Green Collection. Cf. New Mexico: Moya, 71, No. 64 (a mixture of 
turpentine and soda). 

1203 Apply a plaster of sweet gum to the corn. A few appli- 
cations will finally cure it. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick 
county. 

1204 Corns may be removed by "measuring" them with an 
ordinary broom straw. 

Durham Herald-Sun, Oct. 22, 1939. 

1205 Tie a piece of dishrag around your corn and it will leave. 
Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county. 

1206 If anyone suffering from corns takes a small piece of cot- 
ton cloth, rubs it over the offenders, and hides it, unobserved, 
in a coffin with a body about to be buried, the corns will leave 
him. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. New York: Relihan, Remedies, 83 (take a 
corpse's finger, rub it on the oil lamp which has burned beside him and 
then rub it on the toe) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1429 (corns will 
disappear if rubbed with a candle which was rubbed on a corpse). 

1207 To take off corns, cut as many notches in a piece of pine 
wood as you have corns. Cut the corns till they bleed, and cover 
the notches with blood. Hide the stick under the back doorstep, 
and the corns will go away. 

Anonymous. 



l62 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Coughs 

1208 Horehound syrup is a cure for coughs. 

Green Collection. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 130 (horehound candy 
and horehound candy in whiskey [German]) — Ozarks: Randolph, 
93 (horehound candy and horehound tea) ; Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162 
(horehound tea) — Texas: Dodson, 88 (decoction of horehound [Span- 
ish]). 

1209 Root of mullein, stewed together with wild cherry bark, 
brown sugar, and a little vinegar, is a remedy for coughs. 

Green Collection. Cf. Texas: Turner, 169 (mullein only made into 
syrup). Cf. No. 1214, below. 

1210 If you will take mullein leaves and horehound and boil 
them together, the juice sweetened with honey makes an excel- 
lent cure for a cough. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Nos. 1208 f., above. 

121 1 To cure a cough, take a cough syrup of mullein tea, honey, 
and brandy. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Cf. Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 130 (strong raw honey) — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 32 
(rock candy dissolved in peach brandy). 

1 21 2 Pine top and mullein is good for a cough. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. North Carolina: Bruton, Medicine, 
No. 12 (sawdust of pine knot mixed with whiskey) — Qxiebec: Rous- 
seau, Abenakise, 163, No. 9 (pine gum) — Ozarks: Randolph, 93 (pine 
needles steeped in water and boiled down into a syrup with sorghum). 

1213 Powdered snakeroot is a cure for coughs, 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

1 214 Wild cherry bark is used for coughs. 

Green Collection, and Mabel Ballentine, Raleigh. Virginia: Martin, 
No. 17 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4904. 

121 5 As a cure for coughing, take balm of Gilead buds that 
have been soaked in whiskey. 

Anonymous. 

1216 Chokecherry wine and sugar is good for coughs. 
J. Schafifner. 

121 7 Syrup from boiling lightwood splinters, and adding sugar, 
is used for coughs. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 1218, below. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 163 

1218 Sawdust from a fat lightwood knot, added to whiskey, 
makes an excellent cough remedy. 

Green Collection. North Carolitva: Bruton, Medicine, No. 12 (one part 
of pine knot sawdust to three parts of whiskey). 

1 2 19 A remedy of whiskey, vinegar, brown sugar, and butter is 
good for coughs. 

Julia McRae. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 94 (honey and 
vinegar) — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 31 (sugar moistened with whiskey) 
— lozva: Stout, No. 865 (equal parts of sugar, butter, and vinegar), 
No. 879 (vinegar, butter, pepper, sugar) — Nebraska: Black, 12, No. 
35 (vinegar, butter, molasses) — Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191 (vinegar, 
honey, pepper). 

1220 Rock candy and glycerine make a good cough syrup. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Tennessee: Law, 99 
(rock candy dissolved in whiskey). 

1221 For coughs, Schmidt Oil is applied externally. A few 
drops may be taken internally. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

1222 To relieve coughing, put a pair of scissors down inside the 
back of your dress. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Knortz, 54 (a few keys between your shirt and 
skin). Prince Edivard Island: Bergen, Current, No. 854. 

Cow Itch 

1223 Use nightshade and cream for the cow itch. 
Green Collection. 

1224 Guano water is a cure for the cow itch. 
Green Collection. 

Cramp 

1225 Sweating is a cure for cramps. 
Green Collection. 

1226 For cramps, wear a bone from the head of a cod. 

Sue Hull (Indiana), and Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Nezvjound- 
land: Bergen, Animal, No. i — Washington: Tacoma, 17. Cf. No. 
1229, below. 

1227 Cramps in the arms or legs are cured by tying a strip of 
eelskin around the wrists or ankles. 

Anonymous, and the Green Collection. Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 770 (for "lump cramp" twist an eel, skinned alive, around the affected 
muscles) — Neisj England: Johnson, IVhat They Say, 79 — Maine: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 867 (around the waist) — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 



164 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Unger, 164 (eelskin used to heat up the cold parts [German]). 

Radford, 91. 

1228 To prevent cramp while bathing a thong of eelskin is tied 
about the leg or wrist. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Puckett, 375 — New Hampshire: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 874 (snakeskin, and especially rattlesnake's skin wrapped 
about the ankle on going swimming) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
164, (German). Black, Folk-Medicine, 161; Radford, no. 

1229 A fin-bone of the haddock will cure cramp. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. General: Knortz, 136 (bone from the 
head of a stockfish) — N ezvj oimdland : Bergen, Animal, No. 2 (the 
haddock must be caught without touching the boat). Cf. No. 1226, 
above. 

1230 A fin-bone of a haddock (if the fish is caught without 
touching the boat) will cure cramp. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 2. 

1 23 1 There is a bone in the penis of the raccoon similar in 
shape to the letter "J." The old 'coon hunters of the neighbor- 
hood used to tell the younger set that if this bone should be 
worn about the neck or carried in the pocket, the carrier would 
never have cramp. I have seen a number of these bones in the 
possession of various people in the neighborhood. 

Green Collection. 

1232 To prevent cramp in the wrist, wear a leather band around 
it. 

Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and three other informants 
from central and western counties. Kentucky: Price, 31 ; Thomas, No. 
1161. 

1233 Cotton string worn loosely around the ankle is a cure for 
cramps. 

The Misses Holeman, Durham county, and the Green Collection. South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 10 (string dipped in sulphur worn around 
the leg) ; Fitchett, 360 (string dipped in turpentine tied around the body 
[Negro]) — Nezv England: Johnson, What They Say, 77 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, Nos. 5214 ff- 

1234 To cure cramp, tie a blue string around the cramped part 
of the body. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. 
Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5216 (red string about the legs) — Ozarks: 
Randolph, 155 (women wear red yarn strings about the abdomen). 

1235 Rope yarn is worn around the wrists and ankles for 
cramp. 

Anonymous. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1160 (a string of yarn around the 
ankle) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5222 (wrap the affected part around and 
around with yarn at night). 



superstitions: hooy, folk medicine 165 

1236 From time immemorial, great faith has been placed in the 
garter tied around the limb to cure cramp in the leg. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5201 (a wide rubber band 
just above the knee). 

1237 Wearing brass rings will prevent cramp. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Puckett, 375 (Negro) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1162 — Alabama: Bergen, Current, No. 809. Cf. No. 
772, above; Nos. 1304, 1621, 2055 f., 2283 ff., belowr. 

1238 A brass ring stops cramp in the finger. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5196 (wear a copper wire 
bracelet for cramps in the arm). 

1239 Turn the soles of your shoes upside down to stop the 
cramp. 

Robert E. Long, Roxboro, Person county. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 178, 
No. 123 — Vermont: Currier, 294 (the toes of the boots should be 
pointed toward the street at night to cure cramps). 

1240 To cure the cramp, turn your shoes upside down when 
you go to bed. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and two other informants 

from Orange and Durham counties. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles. No. 57 

(at night) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 89, No. 24 — New England: 

Backus II, 196 (at night) — New Hampshire: Bergen, Current, No. 
824 (at night). 

1 24 1 Turn your shoes bottom up by (under) the bed to prevent 
cramp. 

Green Collection. General: Knortz, 54 — South: Puckett, 376 — South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 137 No. 11 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
'^733 (place your shoes at night with the heels under the bed) — 
Virginia: Martin, No. 4 — Kentucky: Stuart, 9; Thomas, No. 1163 (toes 
pointed under the bed) — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 46 (put the 
soles of the shoes together) Farr, Superstitions, Nos. 46, 57 — Nezv 
York: Relihan, Remedies, 83 (stand the shoes up on the heels) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 5205 flf. (a variety of details) — Missouri: Mc- 
Kinney, 107 — Texas: Woodhull, 23, 53 — Iowa: Stout, No. 903 (put 
the soles of your slippers together under the bed every night) — 
Nebraska: Black, 36, No. 62 — Kansas: Bergen, Animal, No. iii; 
Davenport, 132. 

1242 To drive away cramp in the sole of the foot, make a cross 
on the shoe with spittle. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Newfoundland: Patterson, 287 — New England: 
Johnson, What They Say, 80-81 (wet the finger and make a cross on the 
calf of the leg) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5202 (for cramps in the arm, 
make a cross on the arm and spit on it), No. 5203 (spit on the finger 
and make the sign of the cross on the bottoms of your feet). 

1243 An everyday cure for cramp is to remove the sufferer's 
shoe and turn it upside down, then to rub the painful part, re- 



l66 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

peating the following words : "I spread the pain in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Ghost. If it is a pain, 
in the name of the Lord, O spread it out of the flesh, out of the 
sinews, out of the bones." 
Sue Hull (Indiana). 

1244 A method of relieving cramp was to prick the part affected 
with a pin, then immediately light a candle, and stick the pin 
into it. When the flame reached the pin, the pain vanished. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5195 (tie a candlewick 
around the neck or just below the knee). 

1245 To cure cramp, place the best poker under the bed at night 
before lying down. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

Croup 

1246 The juice of roasted onion is good for the croup. 

Anonymous. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 1301 (also recommended is 
a hot onion poultice) — West Virginia: Musick, 5, No. 6c (onions 
fried in grease as a poultice bound to palms of the hands and soles of the 
feet) — Georgia: Campbell, 2 (onions fried in goat tallow as a poul- 
tice) — Iowa: Stout, No. 920. 

1247 For croup, use ground-up deer antler. Mr. Brimley has 
supplied it for twelve years to a man from the eastern part of 
the state. 

Green Collection. Ground-up hoofs of animals are occasionally used 
in folk medicine, particularly those of swine. Black (Folk-Medicine, 
152) reports the use of elk hoofs and even horses' hoofs as a cure for 
ague. 

1248 Boil onions and mix with honey to cure the croup. 

Anonymous. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 135; Lick-Brendle, 229. Cf. 
No. 1249, below. 

1249 Let sugar stand on chopped onions till syrup is formed 
and take the syrup to cure croup. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Bruton, Medicine, No. 15 (brown 
sugar) — West Virginia: Musick, 5, No. 6b — lozva: Stout, No. 1028 
(place onions in the hot ashes of the stove until they become soft ; then 
strain the juice through a cloth and mix with sugar to make a syrup). 

1250 To cure croup, heat a vessel of vinegar to the boiling 
point. Put in two-thirds vinegar. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 135 
(a bed sheet douched in vinegar was hung in the room where the patient 
lay to draw the disease to itself [German]). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 167 

1 25 1 Vinegar, sugar, and butter made into mixture will cure 
croup. 

Clara Hearne, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax county. Cf. Ontario: Doering, 
Customs, 152 (butter and brown sugar only) — Illinois: Allison, No. 
93 (heated molasses and vinegar). 

1252 Alum and sugar (honey) is good for the croup. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Tennessee: Frazier, 35, No. 36; 
McGlasson, 18, No. 8 — Illinois: Allison, No. 134 — loiva: Stout, No. 
959 — Nebraska: Black, 12, No. 40. 

1253 Blueing is good for the croup. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. The following remedy (from the 
Fanners and Planters Almanac for 1839) is claimed to be effectual for 
croup : A teaspoonful of a solution of a piece of indigo about the size 
of a pea, in a pint tumbler of lukewarm water. 

1254 Administer a mixture of goose grease and molasses to 
cure the croup. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Mississippi: Hudson, 151, No. 2 
(molasses and sugar only) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 135 (warm 
goosefat, coal oil, vaseline ; or a mixture of vaseline and molasses taken 
internally [German]); Hoffman 11, 29 (German); Rupp, 255, No. 18 
(goose grease taken warm, sometimes mixed with wine [German]). 

1255 Rub in a mixture of homemade lard, camphor, and qui- 
nine for croup. 

Anonymous. 

1256 Hog's feet oil is good for croup. 
Anonymous. 

1257 Olive oil and ipecacuanha (ipecac) is a cure for croup. 
Also drink a pint of water containing a roasted onion and some 
oil and English safifron. Afterwards, if the croup is still worse, 
apply a blister to the windpipe. 

Green Collection. From Boylan's North Carolina Almanack, 181 1 — 
P. G. Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 18, No. i (ipecac only) — Texas: 
Woodhull, 57 (wine of ipecac). 

1258 A black silk cord about the neck cures crouo. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1855 (black silk 
thread) — New York: Bergen, Current, No. 803 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 135 (homespun woolen thread [German]); Fogel, No. 
1758 (same as preceding) — Illinois: Allison, No. 166 (thread) ; Smith 
I, 58 — Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 161 — lozva: Stout, No. 1007; 
No. 1017 (red string) — Nebraska: Black, 42, No. 23 (string with three 
knots tied in it). Cf. Nos. 299 f., above. 

1259 For croup, wear a penny with a hole in it around your 
neck. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. 



l68 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Cuts 

1260 Expectorate upon a cut to heal it. 
Anonymous. 

1 261 Wrap up a fresh cut with a cobweb and it will not bleed. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1069 — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 50; Rogers, 28 — Washington: Tacoma, 
26. Cf. 858 flf., above. Thompson, Ireland, 225. 

1262 Bind a cut finger up with a piece of dirty cobweb, and it 
will get well. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county, and Louise Bennett, Middle- 
burg, Vance county. Cf. Nos. 858 fif., 1261, above. 

1263 Fresh horse manure is applied to cuts. 

Green Collection. Cf. Black, Folk-Medicine, 161 (cow manure). 

1264 Grated nutmeg heals cuts. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 211. 

1265 The juice of the spruce tree is good for cuts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Tennessee: Rogers, 21 (some products of the pine 
tree) — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 236 (white pine) — Idaho: Lore, 
211. 

1266 Chewed tobacco is used as an application to cuts. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 263 — Indiana: 
Halpert, Cures, 6 (tobacco juice) — Ozarks: Randolph, 98 (tobacco 
poultice) — Iowa: Stout, No. 1023 — Idaho: Lore, 211. 

1267 Equal parts of pine rosin, mutton suet, and beeswax will 
heal cuts. 

Clara Hearne, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4630 (half a pound of lard, one fourth pound of beeswax, and a 
fourth of a pound of resin) — Neiv Mexico: Curtin, 192 (melted tallow 
and wax candle as a base, to which are added turpentine and the ground 
roots of two herbs, Osha and Contra Verba, and powdered camomile 
flowers). 

1268 For cuts, apply a poultice of sugar soaked in turpentine. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 211. 

1269 If soot is put in a fresh cut, the flow of blood will cease 
and the place will heal without soreness. 

Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh. Cf. Ozarks: Randolph, loi (chim- 
ney soot mixed with molasses). The use of charcoal is indicated in 
the following three references: Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1077 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4627 — Washington: Tacoma, 26. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 169 

Deafness 

1270 The best remedy for deafness is the powdered body of an 
earwig. 

George P. Wilson. Greensboro Daily Nczvs, n.d. 

1 27 1 Eel oil poured into the ear is good for deafness. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Cf. the Newfoundland custom 
of dissolving worms in a bottle to cure deafness (Bergen, Animal, No. 
836). Black: Folk-Medicine, 161; Radford, 98 (Ireland). 

1272 For deafness this complicated concoction is supposed to 
be effective. Cut the top off a black radish, dig out the inside, 
put it on a china plate, mix with salt, and put it back into the 
radish shell ; let it stand twelve hours, take it out again, squeeze 
the juice into a glass, and put it in the sun. After eight hours 
in the sun the liquid is "right." Put three or four drops in the 
ear each night. 

Anonymous. 

Delirium Tremens 

I2y2i For delirium tremens, give red pepper in doses of sixty 
grains at a time. It effects a cure in a few hours. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 211. 

Dew Sores 

1274 Trumpet vine leaves and flowers are poisonous to eat or 
touch. They give dew sores. 

Green Collection. 

Diabetes 

1275 To cure diabetes, drink your own urine. 

J. Frederick Doering. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63. 

Diarrhea 

1276 Dr. Judd treated a Hocaday child at Angier and could 
do him no good. An old woman told Mrs. Hocaday to go and 
get the bark off the north side of the tree, boil it, put sugar in it, 
and give to the boy. She did so, and the child's diarrhea soon 
disappeared. 

Green Collection. There are no entries from other states specifying the 
north side of a tree, but the following item from Quebec suggests that 
care was taken in securing the bark of a fir tree. The outer bark 
was removed; then the thin white inner bark used to make a tea 
(Marie-Ursule, 175, No. 67 [French]). 



170 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1277 Chincopin (chinquapin) root tea will cure diarrhea. 
Mrs. Williams. 

1278 Cold water drunk off sliced cumphrey (comfrey) root is 
good for diarrhea. 

Anonymous. 

1279 Tea made from mullein leaves is good for diarrhea. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 135 
(the hearts of mullein leaves stewed in milk) — Iowa: Stout, No. 978. 

1280 Robin Underwood weed is mighty good for diarrhea. 
Make a brew of it. 

Green Collection. 

Diphtheria 

1 281 A bag of asafetida worn around the neck on a string will 
ward off diphtheria. 

Louise Bennett, Middleburg, Vance county, and Marjorie Rea, Craven 
county. Iowa: Stout, No. 1057. 

1282 An old remedy for diphtheria is salt pork heated very hot 
and applied to the throat. It is said that it draws out the poison 
and forms blisters under the skin which are lanced if they do not 
break. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 137 (slice of 
smoked bacon bound to the neck with a red flannel rag [German]) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4914 (bacon) ; No. 4915 (a rancid piece of bacon 
heated in vinegar and wrapped around the throat) — Idaho: Lore, 211. 

1283 A live minnow swallowed head first in the spring will 
prevent diphtheria. 

Emmy Lou Morton (West Virginia). 

1284 Lemon juice used as a gargle is a cure for diphtheria. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

1285 Alternate doses of quinine and tea made of cockleburs 
(gathered before frost) are used for diphtheria. 

Green Collection. 

1286 For diphtheria, take red oak bark and boil it to make a 
tea. Mop out the throat. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1287 Burn sulphur and tar and let the sick person inhale the 
smoke as a cure for diphtheria. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 171 

1288 To cure diphtheria, blow sulphur down the throat. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

Disziness 

1289 Carry salt in your pocket for swimming in the head. 
Green Collection. 

Dog Bite 

1290 A person made mad by the bite of a mad dog was smoth- 
ered between featherbeds to relieve him of his misery. 

Anonymous. 

1291 "I done squeedged it and put axle grease on it" — treat- 
ment for dog bite. 

Green Collection. Texas: Woodhull, 54 — Nebraska: Black, 33, No. 18. 

1292 Bite off the dog's tail to prevent infection from dog bite. 

Anonymous. "Done at Chapel Hill, rather than cutting it off." Cf. 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5433 (cure a dog bite by cutting off some of the 

hair from his tail and binding it over the wound). Cf. 1293, below. 

Napier, loi ; Laval, 24, No. 15. 

1293 The hair of the dog is good for dog bite. 

Green Collection. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 890 — South: Puckett, 
389 f. (Negro) — North Carolina: Whiting, 418, s.v. "Hair" 5 — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1760; No. 1759 (apply three hairs of 
the same dog to the wound) — Kentucky Folk-Lore and Poetry Magazine 
I, No. I (Apr. 1926), 16 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1171 — Tennessee: 
Frazier, 35, No. 32 — New Briinszvick : Davenport, 131, n. i (rub with 
grease some of the hair from the dog that bit you, and bind this hair 
upon the wound [Negro]) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 11 (quot- 
ing from the Edda: "Dogs' hairs heal dogs' bites") ; Wintemberg, 
German 11, 87 (German) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 215 (the 
hair of the mad dog was placed between two slices of buttered bread, 
and eaten [German]) ; Phillips, 163, No. 3 (same as in previous item) ; 
Sener, 233 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4532; No. 4534 (rub some of the dog's 
hair over the wound to prevent blood poisoning) — Ocarks: Randolph, 
142; Randolph, Ozark, 4 (swallow a hair of the dog that bit you, and 
the wound will heal nicely) — Texas: Woodhull, 54 ("the hair of a dog 
is good for its bite") — Kansas: Davenport, 131 (hydrophobia) — Nezv 
Mexico: Espinosa, 411, No. 13 (burn the bite with hair taken from the 

dog's snout [Spanish]). Black, Folk-Medicine, 50 f., 149; Choice 

Notes, 195; Napier, 102; Radford, 139; de Cock 11, 14-16, No. 259. For 
its proverbial use, see Taylor, JAFL lxv (1952), 260; Thompson, 
D2161. 4.10.3. Cf. No. 725, above; No. 1692, below. 

1294 The madstone is applied to the poisoned place, especially 
the wound caused by a dog bite. 

Green Collection. "In 1925 a farmer from Orange County came into 
Chapel Hill in search of a madstone. I was told in Buies Creek in 
June 1925 by a well-to-do farmer that these stones were on sale at 
State College, Raleigh. He was in earnest." Kentucky: Sanders, 17 



172 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

(If the madstone would not stick, woe betide the sufferer; if it would 
stick, no ill effects were felt) ; Thomas, No. 1173 — Tennessee: Redfield, 
No. 43; No. 45 (boil a madstone in milk and apply) ; No. 46 (dip in 
sweet milk) — Mississippi: Hudson, 155 (soak the stone in hot water 
before applying it. After it has been applied, the madstone, soaked in 
water, will stain the bowl green). This is usually said of the milk 
which is used to extract the poison from the stone. Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 216 (German) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 37 (the 
madstone will stick tightly to the wound until all the poison has been 
drawn out, and then drop off) ; Brewster, Specimens, 363 ; Halpert, 
Cures, 9 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4537; No. 4538 (if you are bitten by a 
dog, take the precaution of touching a madstone. You will not go mad, 
even if the dog does) ; No. 4539 (if the dog is not mad, the stone will fall 
off ; but if it is, the stone will stay on until it has drawn out all the 
poison) ; No. 4540 [an elaborate account of the appearance of a madstone 
and its mode of operation] ; Smith 11, 67, No. 11 ; 69, No. 15 — Oj:arks: 
Randolph, 141 f. ; 140 [a general discussion of madstones, including the 
fact that madstones are handed down from father to son, and never sold. 
Furthermore, it is stated that no charge is made for their use, but that 
the patient may make a gift of some kind if he likes] — Nebraska: Black, 
3S, No. 19. For a description of the madstone and beliefs concerning 
it, see No. 1693, below; for the other uses see Nos. 2149, 2240, 2267, 
below. Black, Folk-Medicine, 144; Baughm.an, D1515.5. 

1295 Hold a bottle of turpentine to the dog bite ; it draws out 
the poison. The bottle is now^ poisonous and must be thrown 
away. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 18, No. i (kerosene). Cf. 
No. 1695, below. 

Dropsy 

1296 For dropsy, whip the body to make the water come out. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4972 ("if 
your feet swell, if you press in on it and it comes out at once you don't 
need to worry ; but if you press in on it and flesh stays, that is a sign of 
dropsy"). 

1297 Into a half -gallon of cider, put one handful of crushed 
parsley, a handful of crushed horse-radish, and a tablespoonful 
of juniper berries. After letting the mixture stand for twenty- 
four hours in a warm place, take half a tumbler before each meal 
as a cure for dropsy. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 190 (same four 
ingredients in somewhat different proportions; also a spoonful of mustard. 
"Put all in an earthen jar and boil in hot ashes twenty-four hours, and 
when cold take three gills per day") ; also parsley root alone (p. 189) ; 
Lick-Brendle, 47 (a decoction of parsley root, broom corn seed, and 
watermelon seed) ; 286 (juniper berries steeped in cider) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4973 (juniper berry tea) — Idaho: Lore, 211. 

1298 Take corn silks and boil theiu to make a tea as a ciu-e for 

dropsy. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Ontario: Wintemberg. Grey. No. 
136 (take the silk of corn, "draw" it like tea, and drink a wine-glass 



superstitions: n o d y , folk m i: d i c i n e 173 

full of the liquid three times a day) ; cf. the decoction of broom corn 
seed, along with parsley root and watermelon seed that was drunk for 
dropsy by Pennsylvania Germans (Lick-Brcndle, 47). 

1299 Tea made from elder roots, and a cupful taken three times 
a day, will cure dropsy. 

Anonymous. Georgia: Campbell, 3 (elderberry juice) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 189 (green or dried elderberries steeped in wine over- 
night) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4971 (dried elderberry roots scraped down 
"as the water in dropsy goes down") ; No. 4969 (elder blossom tea). 

1300 Elder bark steeped in vinegar in which rusty nails have 
previously been boiled is also an effective remedy for dropsy. 

Anonymous. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 189 (middle bark of the 
elderberry put in wine overnight) ; Grumbine, 281 (elder bark scraped 
downward given as a purgative for dropsy) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4970 
(inner bark of the elder made into a tea to "make the water pass") ; 
No. 4965 (green elder bark boiled down in water added to half a gallon 
of cider boiled down from a full gallon). 

1 301 Take mullein and make a tea, adding a little salt. Bathe 
the swollen parts of the body every night and morning. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Pennsyhania: Lick-Brendle, 226 
(a decoction of mullein used externally). 

1302 Ragweed seed will cure dropsy. 
Rosa Efird, Stanly county. 

1303 For dropsy, give pills made by thickening sourwood bark 
tea with flour. 

Anonymous. 

1304 Wear a brass ring to prevent heart dropsy. 

Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Black, Folk-Medicine, 

174. Cf. Nos. 773, 1237, above; 1621, 2055 f., 2283 ff. below. 

Dysentery 

1305 A decoction of roots of blackberry will cure dysentery. 

Green Collection. Boylan's North Carolina Almanack (1811) — P.G. 
South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 71 (blackberry wine). 

1306 Dysentery is cured by drinking water in which a few 
seeds of cashew and a few alligator-pear stones have been im- 
mersed over night. This solution may actually be astringent. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 426. 

1307 Chincopin [chinquapin] root tea will cure dysentery. 
Anonymous. 



174 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1308 Sour dewberry wine, taken in small quantities — one tea- 
spoon at a time — will cure dysentery, even in little babies. 
Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1309 One-half cup flour and one-half cup milk is a cure for 
dysentery. 

J. Fredrick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63 -— 
Texas: Woodhull, 54 (brown a teaspoonful of flour, add milk, and boil 
until the mixture is smooth) — Nebraska: Black, 19, No. 6. 

1310 Make a tea of low myrtle for dysentery. 
Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. 

131 1 Red oak bark tea is a cure for dysentery. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Texas: Hatfield, 159 (chew live oak 
buds or drink a tea made from them) ; Woodhull, 54 (tea made from the 
pink bark of a live oak tree) — Nebraska: Black, 19, No. 3 (same as 
previous item). 

1312 Stone pasley (parsley), or red chunk, or crowfoot, when 
made into a tea, will cure dysentery. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

13 1 3 Gather the green leaves of the sunflower and dry and 
steep into a tea for dysentery. Drink the tea, but give sparingly 
to babies. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Paul Green's notes contain two unique remedies 
for dysentery : "The rind of the fruit called pomegranate boiled in milk. 
Internal" (Gale's Almanack [1818]). "(Indian) root of cat-tail (flag) 
boiled in warm milk" {Henderson's Almanack [1818]). Idaho: Lore, 
211. 

Dyspepsia 

1 314 To stop vomiting or to cure dyspepsia, use the inside of a 
chicken gizzard dried and powdered. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 389 — North Carolina: Hoke, 117 — 
South Carolina: Bryant 11, I37, No. 19. Cf. Nos. 1697 fF., below. 

1 31 5 For chronic dyspepsia a tea of feregosa leaves is indicated. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 426. 

1 316 If you wear a bleeding nutmeg around your neck, it will 
cure dyspepsia. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. No. 1714, below. 

1 31 7 There is a spring of sulphur water near my home that is 
claimed to cure dyspepsia and other diseases. 

Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. No. 1729, below. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 175 

Earache 

1318 Three drops of urine in the ear is a cure for earache. 

Green Collection. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 177, No. 114 (two or three 
drops [French]) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 36, No. 2 (urine of the 
opposite sex) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 5006, 5008; No. 5007 (urinate on 
a piece of cotton and put it in the ear) ; Nos. 5009 ff. (examples of use 
of urine from the opposite sex) — Ozarks: Randolph, Ozark, 5 — 
Nebraska: Black, 40, No. 16 (warm urine). 

1 319 To cure earache, put butter on a hot biscuit and apply to 
the aching ear. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 13, No. 17 
(pour melted butter into the ear) — Illinois: Smith i, 58 (a drop of 
buttermilk in the ear). 

1320 One drop of beetle blood is a cure for earache. (A beetle 
has only two drops of blood in its body.) 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 375 (the blood from a Betsy bug, or 
by taking the head off a wood beetle, called "Old Granny Bess," and 
dropping the one drop of blood that comes out into the ear) — Kentucky: 
Price, 32 (Bess-bug [a large black beetle]); Thomas, No. 1175 (Bess- 
bug) ; 1176 (three drops of blood from three different kinds of insects) — 
Tennessee: Frazier, 34, No. 14 (Betsy-bug) ; McGlasson, 13, No. 7 
(Bessie bug) — Mississippi: Hudson, 151, No. i (Betsy bug) — Ozarks: 
Randolph, 145 f. (prick a betsey bug with a pin and put a drop of its 
blood into the ear). Randolph notes that there are several species of 
betsey or bessy bugs, and that one is a big black beetle nearly two inches 
long found in old stumps and rotten wood. 

1321 A cockroach stewed in sweet oil will relieve earache, if it 
is poured into the ear. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Georgia: Campbell, 2 (cockroach juice and red 
pepper in lard on cotton [placed in the ears]) — Pennsylvania: Phillips, 
163, No. 12. 

1322 Drop grease from a yellow perch in one's ears for earache. 
Anonymous. 

1323 To cure earache, heat an onion, squeeze a little of the 
juice, put this on cotton, and put into the ear. 

Mary Scarborough, Wanchese, Dare county. South Carolina: Bryant 
11, 138, No. 54 (preferably a red onion) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1178 
(roast an onion in the ashes and then put the juice into your car) — 
Tennessee: Frazier, 34, No. 4 (toasted onion) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 
177, No. 115 (onion cooked on coals [French]) — Massachusetts: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 1302 (heart of a roasted onion) — Pennsyl- 
vania: Lick-Brendle, 294 (an oven-heated onion held to the ear 
[German]) — Illinois: Allison, No. loi ; Hyatt, No. 4989 (onion 
roasted on ashes, and squeezed onto a rag after the burned skin has been 
removed) — loiva: Stout, No. 928 (roasted on coals made from wood). 



176 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1324 Use a hot onion poultice to cure earache. 

Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and an anonymous informant. 
Kentucky: Fowler, No. 30 • — Neiu Mexico: Moya, 70, No. 46 (onion 
skin heated and placed in the ear [Spanish]). 

1325 Pulverize a peach kernel in warm water and drop it in the 
ear as a cure for earache. 

Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county, and the Green Collection. 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 13, No. 28 (fluid from the heart of a peach seed) ; 
No. 24 (beat up peach kernels and put them in sweet milk). 

1326 Ground pepper put on a piece of cotton will relieve the 
earache. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Tennessee: McGlasson, 13, No. 22 
(stew black pepper in hog's lard and put drippings in the ear) ; No. 5 
(drink black pepper tea) — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 4990, 4992 (on a rag) ; 
No. 4991 (add sweet oil) ; No. 4993 (rub lard and ground pepper on a 
piece of cotton, etc.) — Texas: Woodhull, 54 — Nebraska: Black, 9, No. 
IS- 

1327 Put rabbit tobacco in a corncob pipe and smoke it. Blow 
the smoke into the ear and it will cure the earache. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Tennessee: McGlasson, 13, 
No. 16; Redfield, No. I (no corncob pipe mentioned in either instance) 
— Midwest: Odell, 221, No. 3 (have someone spit tobacco juice in your 
ear) — Nebraska: Black, 10, No. 25 (tobacco juice in ear) ; 9, No. 19 
(onions and tobacco chopped up and roasted in ashes; juice placed in 
ear). Cf. No. 1338, below. 

1328 Pour into the aching ear a couple of drops of warm oil, 
then plug the ear with cotton and apply a warm cloth or place 
the ear at the end of a funnel that has been inverted over a pan 
of boiling water and allow the steam to penetrate. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 211. Cf. Nos. 1329 ff., below. 

1329 To cure earache, put beef foot oil in your ear. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. Cf. Nos. 1330 ff., 
below. 

1330 For earache, drop snake oil in one's ear. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 (rattlesnake oil placed 
in the ear, which is then plugged with cotton ; and a bag of heated corn- 
meal placed under the pillow) ; Redfield, Nos. 5 ff. (rattlesnake oil) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 126 (rattlesnake oil). 

1 33 1 Apply chitling (chitterling) grease to sore ears. 
Anonymous. 

1332 If you drop sweet oil in the ear, it will cure the earache. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh, and an anonymous informant. South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 55 — Tennessee: McGlasson, 13, No. 3- 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 177 

O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 (after placing sweet oil in the ear, keep it warm 
by putting heated cornmeal under the pillow) ; Redfield, No. 10 — 
Pcnnsyli'ania: Brendle-Unger, 126 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5000; No. 5001 (put sweet oil into the ear and then take a pipcstem and 
blow into the ear) — Ozarks: Randolph, 108 — Nebraska: Black, 10, 
No. 22. 

1333 To cure earache, stuff the ear with a piece of wool. 

Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Nos. 1334, 1336, below. 

1334 The wool from a black sheep will cure earache. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, and Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person 
county. General: Knortz, 52 — Cape Breton: Bergen, Animal, No. 
819 (moisten a piece of wool from a black sheep with eel oil or goose 
grease, and put in the ear) — A^^ic; Brunsimck: Bergen, Animal, No. 
818 — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 90, No. 28 (wool from between the 
ears of a black sheep) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 284; Wintemberg, 
Waterloo, 12 — Maine: Bergen, Animal, No. 820 (wool from a black 
sheep wet in new milk). 

1335 To cure earache, take live coals and sprinkle with sugar, 
and hold ear to the vapor. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Tennessee: McGlasson, 13, No. 11 (steam the 
ear with sugar) ; No. 29 (put a tablespoon of sugar in the glass; drop 
a coal of fire in the glass on the sugar and put over the ear) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5002 (if a child has an earache, make a funnel; then take 
brown sugar and burn it, and let the smoke from the sugar go through 
the funnel into the ear) — Idaho: Lore, 211. 

1336 A sure cure for the earache is to get the hair of some 
colored person and put it in the ear. 

Louise Bennett, Middleburg, Vance county. General: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 817; Knortz, 52 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1177 — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 284 (Negro's wool) ; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 137 (wool 
from a Negro's head) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 125 (the kinkiest 
hair to be found on a Negro [German] ; Fogel, No. 1547 (German) — 
Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 36, No. i (a wad of Negro's kinky hair 
stufTed into the ear) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4987. 

1337 For earache, place ashes in a cloth next to your ear. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: McGlasson, 13, No. 26 (poultice made of hot 
ashes) ; Rogers, 26 (hot wood ashes; a little warm sweet milk or sweet 
oil was dropped into the ear before the poultice was applied). 

1338 Blow pipe smoke in your ear to cure the earache. 

Anonymous. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 11 79 — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, 
No. I ; McGlasson, 13, No. 4; No. 6 (smoke out of a corn cob) ; Quebec: 
Marie-Ursule, 177, No. 116 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 127 (the 
York [Yost?] manuscript [ca. 1785] speaks of there being "nothing better 
for that most painful affliction, earache, than to blow tobacco smoke into 
the ear") ; also p. 115 (where the method is explained, namely: the stem 
of the pipe is put into the ear, and someone blows on the bowl) — 
Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 4 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5003 (the blowing 
must be done by an old man and through a pipestem) ; No. 5004 (place 
syrup in the ear and then blow tobacco smoke on it) — Iowa: Stout, No. 



178 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1045 — Ozarks: Randolph, 108 (smoke is either blown into the ear, or 
is blown into a cup of warm water through a reed or pipestem, and then 
a few drops of the water are put into the ear) — Oklahoma: Smith, 
Animals, 74 (blowing the smoke from the bowl through the pipestem) ; 
72 (smoke from burning rags) ; Smith, Folk Cures, 83 — Texas: Wood- 
hull 55 — Nebraska: Black, 10, No. 24 — New Mexico: Moya, 55 
(Spanish). Cf. No. 1327, above. 

1339 For earache, wear a match in the hair. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro, and George E. Hoffman (Arkansas). 

Eczema 

1340 Indians make a salve of ant eggs for eczema. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212. 

1 341 Boiled poke roots are a cure for eczema. 

Anonymous. 

1342 A remedy for eczema is to boil together a pint of pine tar 
and another of thick cream until only one pint remains. Spread 
this mixture over the body, put heavy underwear on, and keep it 
on for three weeks ; then remove, and bathe. This remedy is 
said to be unfailing. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212. 

Epilepsy 

1343 Against epilepsy wear a bit of human cranium. 

Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Iowa: Stout, No. 991 (to 
cure an epileptic fit, go to the graveyard at midnight and find a skull; 
scrape the skull into a powder and take some of it internally every two 

hours). [The informant can trace this item back to 1799]. Radford, 

44. 

1344 Powdered caterpillars are a good cure for epilepsy. 
Anonymous. 

1345 For epilepsy, the patient must drink the warm blood of a 
freshly killed dove. It is better if the head be cut off, and the 
blood taken directly from the neck. 

Anonymous. Sue Hull (Indiana). Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 56 
(turtledove) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 105; see also p. 106 for a 
curious transference of the disease to the dove by placing the anus of the 
dove up to its counterpart in the human, with the resultant convulsions 
and death of the bird. This is from Neucr Hauszimrtschajts Calendar 
(Reading, 1798-1808) ; Rupp, 252, No. 3. 

1346 Mouse fat is a dependable cure for epilepsy. 

George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily Neivs, n.d. Ontario: Knortz, 100 
(falling sickness [epilepsy] is cured by hanging a mouse in a church on 
Friday, burning it "hide and hair" and putting the ashes in boiling water, 
which decoction is then given the patient to drink). 



superstitions: body, folk micdicine 1 79 

1347 For epileptic attacks or similar spells, the person's shirt 
is burned and the ashes are mixed with olive oil, which he is 
given to drink. At the same time his chest is rubbed with asul 
de bola (blueing), the coloring matter used by washerwomen. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 427 — Nctv York: 
Relihan, Remedies, 83 (pull the patient's shirt over his head, pull it out 
of the house through the chimney, bury it at two crossroads) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 106 (the sufferer's shirt is to be turned 
inside out and placed in a coffin under the head of a corpse [German]) ; 
Fogel No. 1534 (same as previous item) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5732 
(cut off the front part of the undershirt, boil and strain it, and let the 
patient drink the liquid) ; No. 5733 (if anyone has epileptic fits, take the 
undershirt off right after they have a spell, and lay it on live coals to 
let smolder ; then take a teaspoonful of the ashes in a glass of holy 
water and say, "In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost," and 
take it three time a day). Storaker, Sygdom, No. 343. 

1348 A piece of rope by which a person has been hanged will 
cure epilepsy by its touch. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Phillips, 164, No. 20; Brendle- 
Unger, 106 (a rope with which someone has committed suicide [Ger- 
man]) ; Fogel, No. 1548 (same as previous item). 

Erysipelas 

1349 Human urine will cure erysipelas. 

Green Collection. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1531 (the patient's urine 
should be taken to the witch doctor [here dokter in Pennsylvania Ger- 
man dialect], who will analyze it by its cast) — California: Bushnell, No. 
II, (where there is also reference to the use of excrement as a poultice.) 

1350. Place cobwebs and vinegar on erysipelas. 
Anonymous. 

1 35 1 Erysipelas is cured by applying a dead toad to the part 
affected, rubbing it gently with it. Then the toad is tied to a 
branch of a tree. As the toad dries up, the disease will dis- 
appear. The toad must be killed especially for this purpose. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 427. 

1352 Erysipelas weed boiled and mixed with mutton suet is 
used to make a salve for erysipelas. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham County. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
82 (a salve made of sheep tallow, scraping from the elderberry tree, and 
goose excrement) . 

1353 Fireweed will cure erysipelas (St. Anthony's fire). 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1354 Place dry straight flour on erysipelas. 
Anonymous. 



l80 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1355 Red oak bark will cure erysipelas. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 82 (pass a blazing white 
oak splinter three times around the body) — Texas: Dodson, 87 (an 
infusion made from the bark of the live oak tree). 

1356 Green glass beads worn about the neck will prevent or 
cure erysipelas. 

Green Collection, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Maryland: Bergen, Cur- 
rent, No. 795; Knortz, 55; Whitney-Bullock, No. 1861 — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 317. 

1357 Against erysipelas, wear old silver coins. 
Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

Eye Ailments 

1358 Do not look at a person who has sore eyes, or you will be 
sure to catch the disease. 

Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Maine: Bergen, Current, 
No. 1351 (inflamed eyes) — Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 1351 — 
Missouri: McKinney, 107 — Ozarks : Randolph, 138 (hillfolk try to avoid 
looking directly at a person who has sore eyes, fearing that their own 
eyes may be affected). 

1359 To cure sore eyes, bathe in your own urine. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 383 (Negro) — Massachusetts: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 807 (own urine not specified) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5072 — Texas: Woodhull, 67 ("I have frequently seen Mexican 
vaqucros wash sore eyes with urine the first thing in the morning") — 
New Mexico: Moya, 56 (the urine of a three or four year old male child 
is used to soothe irritated or infected eyes [Spanish]). 

1360 A sure prevention for sore eyes is to look at your finger- 
nails after looking into the sore eyes of an afflicted person. 
Professor J. T. C. Wright, Boone, Watauga county. 

1 361 Rub sore eyes with warm milk. 
Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 1362 f. 

1362 Warm breast milk is good for sore eyes. 

Green Collection, and anonymous. New Mexico: Moya, 56 (the milk of 
a nursing mother is used for irritated or infected eyes [Spanish]). Cf. 
No. 306, above. 

1363 Bathe sore eyes in breast milk by spraying. 

Green Collection. Georgia: Campbell, 2 (mother's milk is used for sore 
eyes by spraying the milk into the eyes). Cf. Nos. 306, 1362, above. 

1364 For a cataract, use strained honey in an eye dropper. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 123 (mix saffron and 
honey and smear the sore eyes [not cataract]). 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine i8i 

1365 An alligator's gall is good for sore eyes. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, March 1934. 

1366 For eye troubles, use the gall of a bat. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily Nezvs, March 1934. 

1367 For eye troubles a favorite remedy is the gall of an eagle. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, March 1934. 

1368 Powdered hog lice is good for sore eyes. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, March 1934. 

1369 The gall of a kite is a remedy for sore eyes. 

George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, March 1934. Cf. Texas: 
Woodhull, 26 (stew made from hawk gizzards). 

1370 For eye troubles the blood of a partridge is a favorite 
remedy. 

George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, March 1934. 

1 37 1 The gall of a pheasant is good for eye troubles. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily Nezvs, March 1934. 

1372 Bore a hole in a nutmeg and string it around your neck, 
and this will strengthen the eyes. 

Carl G. Knox, Brunswick county. 

1374 Tobacco leaves put on the eyes help soreness. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5027 (lay a piece 
of rotten apple on sore eyes overnight.) Addy, 91. 

1374 Tobacco leaves put on the eyes help soreness. 
Mary L. Walker, Durham county. 

1375 Pure rain water is said to be an infallible cure for sore 
eyes. The rain water must be collected in a clean open vessel, 
in the month of June, and it must not be contaminated by being 
previously collected by any other means. It will then remain 
pure for any length of time, if preserved in a bottle. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county, and Sue Hull (Indiana). 
South: Puckett, 383 (rain water collected in the month of July or on 
Holy Thursday [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2264 (col- 
lected on Good Friday [Negro]) — Nezv Hatiipsliirc: Bergen, Current, 
No. 841 (an Indian doctor used rain water caught on the third, fourth, 
and fifth of June; it is said that it will not putrefy) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1370 (water from Ascension Day [German]) — Nebraska: 

Black, 16, No. 20 (rain water and sugar). Cf. Nos. 1376 ff., below. 

Radford, 117, 196 f., 223, 251. 



l82 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1376 The first rain water in May will cure sore eyes. 
Anonymous. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 181, No. 199 (French). 

1377 Rub your eyes with the first frost of the season to prevent 
sore eyes. 

Green Collection. Cf. Nos. 1375 f., above, and 1378 ff., below. 

1378 The first snow of the year makes an excellent eye wash. 

Green Collection, and Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1401. 

1379 Catch the last snow of the season (e.g., April), melt, and 
put it into a bottle. It will cure sore eyes. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 53 — Maryland: Bergen, Cur- 
rent, No. 838. 

1380 Melted snow which falls in May will cure sore eyes. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and Sue Hull (Indiana). 
Prince Edzvard Island: Bergen, Current, No. 839 — Ontario: Wintem- 
berg. Grey, No. 152 — New York: Relihan, Remedies, 83 (save May 
snow which has been melted and apply to sore eyes with a feather. Keep 
snow in an earthen crock). Unless otherwise specified, all of the fol- 
lowing references are to March rain water. South: Puckett, 383 (taken 
before the sun has shone upon it) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1893A (the first snow of March is best) — Kentucky: Price, 32; 
Thomas, No. 11 87 (cf. 11 88) — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles. No. 27 
(water made from snow that falls in April) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 122 (snow falling in the month of March was 
used for the eyes of man and beast) ; Fogel, No. 1275 (March snow 
water is holy water and is good for sore eyes [German]) ; No. 1569 
(strengthens weak eyes) ; No. 15 18 (water from snow which fell on 
Good Friday cures sore eyes) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5064; No. 5065 
(water from the last snow in March) ; cf. also 5063 — Iowa: Stout, 
No. 979 (housewives canned the first snow water of March as a solution 
to treat sore eyes). 

1 38 1 Bathe in salt water to cure sore eyes. 

Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. South: Puckett, 383 
(Negro) — South Carolina: l'>ryant 11. 138, No. 60 (warm salt water) ; 
No. 61 (weak eyes) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 487 (bathe weak eyes 
in salt water to make them strong) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
123 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5062 — Iowa: Stout, No. 919 (warm salt 
water). Black, Folk-Medicine, 131. 

1382 One pint of boiling water, a slight teaspoonful of sugar, 
alum, and a little less of borax is a cure for sore eyes. 

Green Collection. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 181, No. 193 (boric acid 
[French]) — New Mexico: Moya, 56 (sugar water [Spanish]). 

1383 A cure for weak eyes is to wash them in whiskey. 
Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. 



superstitions: body, folk mf. dicine 183 

1384 To cure sore eyes, wear earrings. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county; Mildred Peterson, 
Bladen county; and an anonymous informant. South: Puckett, 382 (brass 
earrings [Negro]) — Kentucky: Price, 31; Thomas, No. 1186 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 415 (brass) — Georgia: Steiner, No. 76 (to 
wear one earring on the ear next to a weak eye will give good eyesight) 

— Ontario: Waugh, Nos. 273, 316; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 12; Wintem- 
berg, German 11, 86 (German) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 125 — 
Michigan: Dorson, 117 (Cornish) — Illinois: Allison, No. in (to help 
weak eyes) ; Hyatt, No. 5033 — loiva: Stout, No. 1053 (to strengthen the 
eyesight) — Ozarks: Randolph, 139 (I once met a blind street singer in 
Little Rock, .-Irkansas, who wore two rings with large green stones in 
them. Asked if he expected these rings to restore his sight, he said, "No, 
but I got the damn things before I went blind, figgerin' they might strength- 
en my eyes. It didn't do me no good, but I got 'em, so I might as well 
wear 'em.") — Nebraska: Black, 16, No. 22 (wearing gold earrings in 
pierced ears will cure weak eyes) — Washington: Tacoma, 20 (if your 
eyes are weak, have j'our ears bored just as you would for earrings). 
From all sections of the country, except the West, there are references to 
piercing the ears as a means of strenthening the eysight. Cf. Nos. 1385, 
2108, below. Foster, 60; Radford, 109, 117, 223, 251. 

1385 Sailors wear gold earrings for weak eyes. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 16 (to improve eyes) 

— Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 811. Cf. No. 1384, above; No. 
2108, below. 

1386 To cure sore eyes, kiss a red-headed girl. 
Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. 

1387 For objects in the eye the common remedy is flaxseed. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 126 — Illionis: Hyatt, No. 5044 — Nebraska: Black, 
16, No. 16 — Idaho: Lore, 213. 

1388 Flaxseed will remove cinders from the eye. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. No. 1387, above. 

1389 Foreign objects in the eye may be removed by conjury. 

Green Collection. Cf. Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 24 (to remove a 
barley beard from a person's eye, an old German woman who practiced 
charming took a cup filled with water from a spring, blew on it, and 
uttered some words of magic import). There are other charms from 
different parts of the country, involving everything from gibberish to an 
invocation of the Trinity. Storaker, Sygdom, No. 102. 

1390 If you get red pepper in your eyes, put your head in the 
henhouse. 

Green Collection. 

1 391 A piece of raw steak placed on the eye will prevent its 
becoming black after a lick. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 
63 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5028 — lozva: Stout, No. 1012 — Nebraska: 
Black, 16, No. 21. Other methods were also employed. Besides leeches, 



184 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

rotten apples, potatoes, etc., were used; also, metal objects were placed 
on it. 

1392 Look at a snake and your eyes will cross. 
R. B. Cochrane, Buncombe county. 

Fainting 

1393 Strawberries for fainting spirit. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

Falling Palate 

1394 When the "palate comes down," you raise the palate by 
taking up a bunch of hair on the top of a person's head and 
twisting it around a stick and pulling it up by jerks. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and Elsie Doxey, Currituck 
county. South: Puckett, 368 (the hair on the crown, and also on the 
sides of the head as well, the "palate-lock," which is thought to support 
the palate, is quickly pulled up and tightly bound with a string or rag 
[Negro]) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 416 — Florida: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 904 (Negroes think that there is a hair attached to the palate. 
This hair is near the crown of the head, and must be kept twisted up 
tight to keep the palate from falling) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 94, 
No. 62 (when the palate drops down on the tongue, seat the person in 
the center of the room. People all gather around. Put pepper on a 
spoon or stick, and put on the back of the palate. Then take three or 
four strands of hair and roll and tie them together. Twist the stick 
around these hairs until you almost pull them out. Between the twisting 
and the pepper the patient is cured). 

1395 A lock of hair tied very tightly at the top of the head 
will pull up a fallen palate. 

Green Collection. Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 864; Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1747 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 883. 

1396 Negroes believe that a falling palate may be pulled up by 
pulling a lock of hair on top of the head. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia), and Jane N. Ray. Cf. Kentucky: Price, 33 
(the hair on top of the patient's head is grasped and pulled "till it pops," 
the patient being made to swallow twice) ; Thomas, No. 1284 (same as 
preceding item). Foster, 60. 

Feet 

1397 To make a lotion for the feet, take white poppy's heads 
(bruised together with their seed) four ounces; willow leaves, 
lettuce, violet leaves each two handfuls. Boil in water and milk, 
each five pints to a gallon, strain and dissolve in the liquor nitre 
four ounces, and put it into a convenient washpot. Let the 
patient sit with his feet in it for half an hour, and go to bed. 
After applying the lotion the soles of the feet should be rubbed 



superstitions: hody, folk mf-dicine 185 

hard with salt and vinegar ; and then the patient should stand 
on an oaken board, heated very hot. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

1398 Feet may be caused to swell by the casting of a spell. 

Anonymous. 

1399 To make the sign of the cross on the knee with a finger 
moistened with saliva will cure a foot that's asleep. 

Madge Nichols, Raleigh. Ohio: Bergen, Animal, No. 102 [erroneously 
numbered footnote 125, p. 130] (rub saliva on the knee under the ham- 
string) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3445; No. 3446 (on your leg) — Rio 
Grande: Bourke, 139 (under the knee) — Midwest: Odell, 220, No. i 
(on the leg). Cf. Nos. 1400 ff., below. 

1400 If your foot is asleep, make the sign of the cross on the 
sole. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. General: Patten, 139 f. (instep) ; (take 
off shoes and stockings and form them into the shape of a cross) — 
South: Puckett, 386 (wet your second finger with spittle and make a 
cross on tlie foot) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 354 (on foot) — New- 
foundland: Bergen, Animal, No. lOi (cross on the shoe with spittle) ; 
Patterson, 287 (same as previous item) — Neiv England: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 102 [erroneously numbered footnote 125, p. 130] (cross the top of 
the foot or the sole with the tip of the forefinger moistened with saliva) 

— Neiv York: Relihan, Remedies, 83 (sole of the shoe. Lean 11, 58. 

1401 Wet your finger with your tongue and make a cross mark 
on the bottom of your foot and think of your sweetheart, and 
the foot that is asleep will wake up. 

Louise Bennett, Middleburg, Vance county. Cf. Nos. 1399 f., above. 
Black, Folk-Medicine, 85. 

1402 For cold feet, put red pepper pods in the shoes. 

Green Collection. Nebraska: Black, 38, No. 95 (pepper or red pepper — 
not pods). 

1403 If you stick a nail in your foot and then grease the nail, 
it will take all the soreness out of your foot. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 376 (a rusty nail stuck in the foot may 
be greased and set away ... to draw poison from the wound [Negro]) 

— Kentucky: Stuart, 9 (grease and bury in a dry place) — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, Nos. 1575 fT. (put into fat and bury under the eaves; keep 
in dry place (No. 1576); chimney (No. 1577 [German]) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5253 (grease nail and carry it in your pocket) ; No. 5254 
(grease the nail and put it on a high shelf) ; No. 5256 (grease the 
nail or tack . . . and place it higher than your head near the door) ; 
No. 5261 (fat hanging in the barn for horses or people who have stepped 
on a nail) — Texas: Woodhull, 60 (grease the nail and then put it in 
the fire) — Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 42 (same as previous item). 
Cf. Nos. 1 781 ff., 2756 f., below. Radford, 97. 



l86 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1404 If you Stick a nail in your foot, pull it out, and drive it in 
a tree to prevent the foot from becoming sore. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. South: Puckett, 377 (drive 
the nail into the north side of a tree) — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 1273a 
(drive it into a board and put a piece of fat meat on it) ; Thomas, No. 
1270 (drive the nail into the ground) — Tennessee: Rogers, 57 (into a 
post). The nail is also driven into the ground — Tennessee: Redfield, 
No. 162 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5259. Cf. Nos. 1786 f., below. 

Felon 

1405 A live toad-frog tied to a bone felon will cure it. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4747 (hop-toad) ; No. 4750 
(live frog from a spring). 

1406 A lemon is good for a felon. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4744 — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 1024 (cut a lemon in half and hold the finger in it). 

1407 Red pepper pods, if applied to a felon, will give relief. 
Anonymous. 

1408 A poultice of sweet potato leaves and sweet milk is good 
for a felon. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

1409 Scrape common laundry soap and mix turpentine into it 
to make a salve for a felon. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 182 (hard soap, 
sage juice, and cream [German]) — Texas: WoodhuU, 55 (lye soap 
and tobacco) ; 55 (turpentine and gunpowder) — Nebraska: Black, 18, 
No. 28 (lye soap and tobacco) — Idaho: Lore, 212. 

Fever 

1410 "Feed a cold and starve a fever." 

Anonymous. North Carolina: Whiting, 386, s.v. "cold" — South 
Carolina: Bryant ir, 139, No. 79 (typhoid fever) — Tennessee: 
Rogers, 47 ("It is thought that the idea of starving a fever origi- 
nated from the notion that in a rather wide area of territory typhoid 
had been caused from the eating of Irish potatoes. Therefore the most 
effective remedy would be to refrain from eating. Instances are given in 
which the idea was exactly reversed and the patient fed instead. An 
epidemic which broke out in the army during the Battle of Murfreesboro 
during the War between the States is a case in question") — Nebraska: 
Erickson, 151, No. 2. For a bibliographical reference to this proverbial 
treatment for fever, see JAFL lxv (1952), 257; cf. Nos. iioi flf., above, 
esp. No. 1 102, where a special study by S. A. Gallacher is cited. 

141 1 To cure a fever starve it. 
Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 187 

141 2 Wear a string of buzzard feathers around the neck to 
keep off the fever. 

Mr. Fairley, Durham. 

1413 Tawny and brown caterpillars are called "fever-worms." 
One must spit on meeting them to keep off fever. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Kentucky: Bergen, Animal, No. 79; Price, 35; 
Rainey, 9 (spit over left shoulder), 10 (spit over the head) or (spit 
three times) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5140; No. 5142 (kill a caterpillar 
and you will catch fever before the summer is gone). 

1414 In the case of a high fever or continuous or intermittent 
fevers a young chick is cut open while alive by hitting it with a 
hatchet between its legs, and it is then placed on the patient's 
chest while the blood is still warm, the two halves being spread 
apart so that a larger portion of the chest may be in contact with 
the entrails. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 426. 

141 5 Cut a black chicken open while alive and bind to the bot- 
tom of the foot. This will draw the fever from the human. 

Julian P. Boyd, and Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 
367 (applied to the chest [Negro]) — Illinois: Smith i, 58. The feathers 
of black hens are saved in the Ozark country and burned under the bed 
(Randolph, 146). 

1 41 6 Tie salty herrings to your wrists, feet, and head to cure 
fever. 

Anonymous. General: Knortz, 134 (bound to the feet) — Newfound- 
land: Bergen, Animal, No. 897 (bound to the feet) — Nova Scotia: 
Creighton, 91 (the disease is transferred from the patient to the herring; 
as the herring withers away the fever lessens) ; ibid., No. 34 (feet), 
No. 35 (feet and neck). 

1 41 7 Plant leaves bound to the head will cure fever. 
Anonymous. 

1418 Apple tree, dogwood tree, and cherry tree bark boiled 
into tea is good for fever. 

Anonymous. Cf. Texas: Woodhull, 55 (the bark of the roots of dog- 
wood ) . 

1419 For inward fevers, drink tea of cherry and apple bark 
mixed. 

Anonymous. 

1420 Crush a collard leaf and place it on the head as a cure for 
fever. 

Anonymous. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 6 (heat a collard leaf 
and put on the head or wrists). 



l88 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1 42 1 For fever, bind coUard leaves to the feet. 
Green Collection. 

1422 Corn pone tea is given to sweat the patient and cure his 
fever. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Ohio: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 1258 (ears of Indian corn are boiled and placed around the 
patient while still hot). 

1423 Bind split cucumbers to the feet and hands, and bleed the 
patient to reduce the fever. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1424 Featherfew (feverfew) should be applied to fevered 
places. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 1425, below. 

1425 Feverfew tea is given to sweat a patient as a cure for 
fever. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Addy, 91. 

1426 Feverweed is boiled into a tea and drunk for fever. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: Frazier, 34, No. 11; Redfield, No. 86; 
Rogers, 17 (fever weed tea, sometimes called "mouse's ear") — Osarks: 
Randolph, 107 (fever root). 

1427 Ginger tea is good for fever. 
J. Schaffner. 

1428 Gourd leaves bound to the head will break a fever. 
Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. 

1429 Horsemint will cure fever. 
Anonymous. 

1430 For fever, cook huckleberry and sweetgum sprouts to- 
gether. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. 

1 43 1 For fever, put Jerusalem oak bushes all around you. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. Cf. South: 
Puckett, 367 f. (tea made from red oak bark and other ingredients). 

1432 Bind Jimson weeds to the head for fever. 
Green Collection. 

1433 Jimson leaves, wilted in the oven, will take the fever out 
of risings. 

Green Collection. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 189 

1434 Wilted collard will take the fever out of risings. 

Green Collection. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 6 (heated 
collard leaf placed on the head or wrists). 

1435 To reduce a fever a decoction made of the roots of the 
lemon tree is given. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 426 — Texas- 
Woodhull, 55 (lemon and borage) — California: Loomis, Medicine. 120 
(lemons used in coffee for fever and ague). 

1436 Mouse-ear is made into a tea for fever. 
Green Collection. Tennessee: Rogers, 17. 

1437 Split onions hanging in the house will keep off fever. 

Green Collection. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1797 (a raw onion 
pinned to the wall of a room where there is a fever patient will absorb the 
fever ; it will shrivel and prevent the fever from spreading) . 

1438 Keep a pan of onions cut up in the room and they will 
draw the fever. They turn black and are poison. 

Mrs. Williams. 

1439 To prevent and cure fever, cut onions and put them under 
the bed. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county; William B. Covington, Scot- 
land county; and an anonymous informant. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5154 
(the fever will go into the onion under the bed). 

1440 Tie red onions to the feet of the patient. Heat apple 
vinegar bloodwarm, and bathe the entire body. Sweat will fol- 
low and the fever will leave. 

Green Collection, and J. Schaffner. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 28 (onions 
cooked and mixed with meal used as a chest poultice) — Nezv York- 
Rehhan, Remedies, 83 (hot onions on the feet) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5153 (poulticing the bottoms of the feet with chopped onions and salt) — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 999 (onion poultices). 

1441 Cure for fever: 

Seed of parsley, dill, and rue, 
Of celandine and feverfew: 
Take equal parts of all these worts 
And you'll be ready for any sport. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

1442 To cure fever, drink boiled pine tree tops. 

Anonymous. South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (the patient should break 
a pine top with his face turned toward the setting sun, and make a 
drink from the pine top). 



igO NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1443 Eat poke salad in the spring, and you will not have fever. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county; Mamie Mansfield, Durham 
county ; and an anonymous informant. 

1444 As a cure for fever, get some pokeberry leaves, wet them, 
and apply them to the fever and it will be lowered. 

Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham county. 

1445 Pokeberry leaves heated in vinegar will cure fever. 
Anonymous. 

1446 Queen's delight will cure spring fever. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

1447 "I don't never bother 'bout the weather," she told us. 
"Ever spring I peels the bark down on the north side of a red 
oak tree and I boils hit and drinks hit. That keeps my blood 
cool and fever down. Then in the fall I git the bark off 'uv the 
south side and peels hit up. That keeps my blood warm and my 
fever up all winter." 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county, and an anonymous 
informant. South: Puckett, 366 f. (oak bark tea with eight drops of 
turpentine and a handful of salt [Negro]). 

1448 Sage tea is good for fevers. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. West Virginia: 
Musick, 6, No. 22b — Mova Scotia: Creighton, 91, No. 37 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Brendle-Unger, 92 (sage, nutmeg, mace, and a living crawfish 
put into wine overnight and drunk on an empty stomach). 

1449 For high fever, make a tea of shucks. 

Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. Cf. Ohio: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 1258 (hot corn packed about the patient). 

1450 Snakeroot tea is good for fever. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 366 (red snakeroot from roots obtained in 
the spring when the sap is high [Negro]) — Pennsylvania: Lick- 
Brendle, 202 (snakeroot in brandy for low fevers [German]). 

1 45 1 Black snakeroot tea is good to break the fever. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. South: Puckett, 366. 

1452 Summer fern is good for fever. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. 

1453 Plant sunflowers close to the house to keep off fever, 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 
Texas: Woodhull, 55. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 191 

1454 White briar root keeps off fevers. 
Green Collection. Cf. Johnson, Normandy, 118. 

1455 Willow bark tea is given to sweat the patient as a cure 
for fever. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 463 — Texas: Dodson, 86 (pillows are made from willow leaves for 
people with fever [Spanish]). 

1456 To cure fever, drink some turpentine. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: Rogers, 48 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5x64 (eight 
drops of turpentine in one-half teaspoonful of sugar). 

1457 To get rid of fever, wrap the patient in many blankets 
and he will "sweat the fever off." 

Mary Scarborough, Wanchese. Dare county. 

1458 Keep hot water bags around a person to cure a fever. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (a basin 
of cold water under the bed [Negro]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5165 (same 
as previous item). 

1459 Keep ice packs around a person to cure a fever. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

1460 Bathe a person in vinegar to cure fever. 
Anonymous. 

1 461 Vinegar and salt bound to one is a good cure for fever. 

Anonymous. 

1462 To cure fever, bathe in whiskey and water. 
Anonymous. 

1463 Place steel under the bed for fever; it draws out the 
electricity from the body. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 11 99. 

1464 Carry a person across a stream of water to cure the fever. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county, and Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 

1465 Climb a tree with your hands (do not use feet) and then 
jump off to leave your fever in the tree. 

Anonymous. Cf. Radford, 119; de Cock, No. 254 (11, 9) ; the fever spirit 
is driven into a garter, and the garter is removed and placed about a 
fever tree (koortsboom). 



192 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Fever Blisters 

1466 As a cure for a cold blister, take wax from your ear and 
rub it on the blister. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Cf. No. 1467, below, 

1467 Ear wax will cure fever blisters on your lips. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Tennessee: Rogers, 31 — 
Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 177, No. no (French) — Indiana: Halpert, 
Cures, 6 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4633 (saliva and earwax rubbed on the 
ear) — Texas: Woodhull, 55 (earwax applied with the little finger). 

1468 For a fever blister, burn it with a hot biscuit. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4634 (if you kiss a girl too 
much, you will have fever blisters ; but the girl won't have any at all, 
because the heat of the girl will come to you) — South: Puckett, 377 
(a fever blister may be cured by kissing a dog). 

1469 A fever blister may be taken away by kissing a red-headed 
person. 

Flossie Marshbanks, Mars Hill, Madison county. This is no doubt an 
application of the principle of curing a malady by the agent or object 
that caused it. In the following references, fever blisters are said to 
result from being kissed; red-headed persons are not specifically men- 
tioned: South Carolina: Bryant i, 290, No. 24 — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 798 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 848 — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 274 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 6648 — Texas: Turner, 174 (A fever 
blister says, "I've been kissed by someone I had no business kissing") — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 279 (kissed by your sweetheart) — Nebraska: Can- 
nell, 34, No. 59. 

1470 A sure cure for fever blisters is to let a red-headed per- 
son of the opposite sex kiss you on the mouth. 

Professor J. T. C. Wright, Boone, Watauga county. Cf. No. 1469, 
above. 

1 47 1 The kiss of a red-headed man is a sure cure for a fever 
blister. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Cf. No. 1469, above. 

1472 If you have a fever blister, kiss a red-haired boy and it 
will go away. 

Dixie V. Lamm, Lucama, Wilson county, and Martha Wall, Wallburg, 
Davidson county. Cf. No. 1469, above. 

1473 If you have a fever blister on your lip, kiss a girl who 
has red hair and the fever blister will go away. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 1469, above. 

1474 Kiss a red-headed Negro and it will cure a fever blister. 

Green Collection, and Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. No. 1469, 
above. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 193 
Fits 

1475 For fits, tie a rattlesnake's rattles on a string and wear it 
around the neck. 

AlHe Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county, and George E. Knox (Wash- 
ington, D. C). Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1202 (worn to prevent fits). 

1476 A bone from a stag's breast is worn, attached to the neck, 
to prevent fits. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 36 (also a 
deer's tooth attached to the neck). 

1477 Boiled myrtle leaves as a drink will cure fits. 
Anonymous. 

1478 A hangman's rope will cure fits by its touch. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Phillips, 164, No. 20. 

Flux 

1479 Take willow tea to cure the flux. 
Rosa Efird, Stanly county. 

Fractures 

1480 If you step over a person's leg, the leg will break. 
Madge Colclough, Durham county. 

1481 If you put your hand in a bird's nest, you will suffer a 
broken limb. 

Anonymous. Cf. Georgia: Steiner, No. 117 (to break up a kildee's nest 
is a sign that you will break a limb) — West Indies: NQ, vni, vol. 4 
(1893), 87, No. 3 (anyone who robs a kildee's nest and eats its eggs will 
certainly break an arm) — Texas: Strecker, Birds, 36 (the same as the 
previous item). Cf. No. 814, above. 

1482 If you put your hand in a wren's nest, you will break an 
arm or leg before night. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 1483, below. 

1483 If you kill a wren, you will have a broken arm soon. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 436 (broken limbs [Negro]). Cf. Nos. 
814, 1481 f., above. 

Freckles 

1484 If you smell a tiger lily, you'll have freckles on your nose. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). Maine: Bergen, Animal, No. 1390 — Illinois: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 1391 (looking into a tiger lily causes freckles) — 
New Hampshire: Bergen, Animal, No. 1392 (smelling wild red lilies, 
"horse-lilies"). 



194 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1485 A way to cure freckles is to bathe the face in urine. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and an anonymous in- 
formant. General: Knortz, 53 — Northeastern and Central United 
States: Bergen, Animal, No. 809 — Illinois: Hyatt, No 3921 (your 
own urine) — Texas: Berdau, 382 (wash the face at midnight with the 
urine of a newborn baby) ; Woodhull, 56 — Nebraska: Black, 40, No. 19 
(wash your face in human urine every night). 

i486 Wash your face with a baby's wet diaper to cure freckles. 

Anonymous. General: Knortz, 53 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1524 — Cape Breton: Bergen, Animal, No. 808 (with a diaper on which 
a newborn baby has urinated for the first time) — Northeastern and 
Central States: Bergen, Animal, No. 809 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3922 — 
Osarks: Randolph, 163 (a male baby's diaper). 

1487 To cure freckles, wash your face with the same rag that 
you washed your feet with. 

Anonymous. 

1488 Wash your face in hot cow's milk to cure freckles. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 35, No. 20 (oatmeal in a bag soaked 
in milk and rubbed on the freckles). 

1489 To cure freckles, bathe them in sweet cream every night. 
Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. New Mexico: Moya, 72> (Spanish). 

1490 Wash the face in buttermilk for freckles. 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county, and Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1204 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3904 — Texas: 

Woodhull, 56 — Nebraska: Black, 35, No. 18. Foster, 63; Black, 

Folk-Medicine, 119, 199 (silver weed steeped in buttermilk). 

1 49 1 To cure freckles, put buttermilk and soda on your face. 
Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1492 To cure freckles, fall face down in warm cow manure, 
and lie there for awhile. 

Anonymous. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3905 ("cow plaster") ; No. 3906 — 

Osarks: Randolph, 162 f. (poultice of fresh cow dung). HDA iv, 

635 (in "Jauche," liquid manure). 

1493 To cure freckles, peel the shell from an tgg and place in 
vinegar to soak over night. Bathe in the vinegar the following 
day. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1637 (rubbed with an egg 
freshly laid on Good Friday, which is then buried under the eaves). 

1494 Freckles may be removed by using the sweat of corn 
bread. Three applications will remove them. 

Green Collection. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 195 

1495 To cure freckles, wash your face for seven days in corn 
meal mixed with water. 

Anonymous. 

1496 Meal, tansy, and buttermilk will remove freckles. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 16 
(buttermilk and tansy). 

1497 Wash your face with cucumber juice to cure freckles. 

Anonymous. Texas: Woodhull, 56 (slices of raw cucumber rubbed on 
the face) — Nebraska: Black, 35, No. 25. 

1498 To cure freckles, wash in the sap of a grape vine. 

Anonymous. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3914 (wild grapevine sap). HDA 

IX, 335- 

1499 F'reckles are carried away by washing them in lemon juice. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and an anonymous 
informant. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3915. 

1500 Wash your face with melon rind to cure freckles. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1209 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 418 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3918. Cf. No. 
1504, below. 

1 501 Freckles are carried away by washing them in the milk 
from milkweed. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Milkweed juice is 
perhaps more commonly used in combating warts. Cf. No. 2527, below. 

1502 To cure freckles, tie the face, hands, and arms up in poke 
leaves. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1503 To cure freckles, give the face or other affected parts a 
good bath in ripe strawberries before going to bed. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212. HDA vii, 833. 

1504 Wash freckles with watermelon juice. 

Mary L. Walker, Durham county. Nezv York: Relihan, Remedies, 84. 
Cf. No. 1500, above. 

1505 Plaster red mud upon freckles. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 1522 (go to a crossroads and, kneeling down, wash your face three 
times in the dust that lies exactly in the middle of the roads, and then go 
to the creek and wash your face). 



196 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1506 To remove freckles, moisten a chunk of saltpeter and rub 
the freckles daily. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212 — California: Loomis, Medicine, 
122 (a mixture of potash and simple saltpeter, finely powdered). 

1507 Wash your face with cobweb dew to take away freckles. 
Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 139. 

1508 If one will go out early in the morning on the first day 
of May, and wash his face in the dew it will take off freckles. 

Mary Olivia Pruette, Charlotte, and three other informants in widely 
separated counties. South: Porter, 108 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 2318 (wash in stump water on first of May) — Tennessee: Frazier, 
36, No. 48 (dew on the grass) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 62 (dew 
on the grass, with a prescription of silence during the procedure [Ger- 
man]); Fogel, No. 1635 [German]; Phillips, 164, No. 18 — Indiana: 

Halpert, Cures, 9 — Illinois: Smith n, 69, No. 8. Napier, 170; HDA 

V, 1551. 

1509 To cure freckles, wash the face in the dew on the first day 
of May, and walk backwards into the house. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
2319 (commencing on the first of May, you must neither speak, eat, nor 
wash ; go downstairs backward in your nightgown, wash your face in 
the dew that collects on the clover) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1208 
(walk backward from your bed outdoors and then wash your face in dew) 

— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3907 (walk out of the house backward, etc). 

1510 If you'll wash your face in dew for the first ten (nine) 
mornings in May it will take the freckles off. 

J. T. Carpenter, Durham county, and Madge Colclough, Durham county. 
Kentucky: Fowler, No. 1207a (dew of? grass nine mornings in a row) ; 
Stuart, 8 (wash nine times in stump water) ; Thomas, No. 1207 (dew 
ofT grass the first nine mornings in May) — Pennsylvania: Grumbine, 
279 (first three mornings in May; also prescription of silence, abstinence 
from food, and slapping of the arms with the hand wetted in the dew) 

— Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 36, No. i (first seven mornings in May) 

— Illinois: Allison, No. 137 (same as previous item) ; Hyatt, No. 3911 
(dew on grass first nine mornings of May). 

151 1 If you have freckles on the face, wash it in the May dew 
every morning for the whole month. 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county. Cf. Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 12 
(before sunrise on any morning during the month of May). 

1 512 Get up early on the first morning in May, speak to no one, 
wash your face with dew found on a honeysuckle vine, and your 
freckles will disappear. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3909 (dew 
that is on clover; no prescription of silence). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 197 

1513 If you will get up the first three mornings in May and not 
speak, and then go out to the rye patch and wash your face in 
the dew, it will take your freckles. 

Minnie Turner, Stanly county. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock No. 2318 
(the first day of May, go to the rye field, and as soon as the sun strikes 
the rye, rub your face in the rye three times and your freckles will leave) 
— Calijornia: Dresslar, 78 (on the first day of May, arise before the 
sun is up, and, without looking behind you or speaking to anyone, go 
out into a rye field, wash your face in the dew from the rye, and wipe 
it with your bare arm; this will cause the freckles to go from your face 
to your arm). 

1 514 On the first day of May, go out into a rye field before 
sunrise and wash your face in that dew, and your freckles will 
disappear. Your face must be dried but allowed to dry without 
any other application. 

Ethel Brown, Catawba county, and an anonymous informant. Cf. No. 
15x3, above. HDA v, 1551. 

1 51 5 The best way to lose your freckles is to bathe your face in 
the dew on the wheat the first morning in May before sunrise. 
You must be sure not to speak to anyone until you have re- 
turned. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 1212 (month not mentioned) — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 26 
(no prescription of silence) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1632 (without 
dressing or speaking [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 3912 (time of 
day not specified). HDA viii, 689; ix, 469. 

1 516 Wash your face in dew found on growing wheat on the 
first day of May. One must go to a field unseen and not speak 
to anyone until he gets back. After washing the face in dew, 
then place the hands on some part of the body where you wish 
the freckles to go, and they will leave the face and go to the 
place where the hands are placed. 

Mrs. A. H. Giles, Fonta Flora, Burke county, and Mary L. Walker, 
Durham county. The following references accord with this ritual only 
in the matter of transference of the freckles to some other part of the 
body, not in other details: Pennsylvania and West Virginia: Bayard, 57 
(freckles wiped from face to the forearms because of failure to bring a 
towel) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 62 (wash the face with May 
dew and dry the hands on that part of the body to which the freckles 
are to be transferred [German]) ; Fogel, No. 1631 (transfer to arms and 
legs by hitting those parts of the body) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 
10 (dip your hand in dew the first three mornings in May and wipe the 
freckles oflf your face. They are supposed to be in your hand but 
they have to be put back on the body somewhere. Most people put them 
where they can't be seen. All this must be done before sunrise and 
without speaking to anyone before it is done [dated from 1885]). 

1 517 To remove freckles, rise before sunup on the first day of 
May and without speaking to anyone, or looking back, run to 
the nearest wheat field, wet the hands with dew, cross them and 



198 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

bring down across the face, from opposite sides, and across the 

chest. That will bring the freckles down to the chest from the 

face. 

Maybelle Poovey, High Point, Guilford county. Cf. No. 1515 f., above. 

1 518 To cure freckles, go to a still branch in the mountain and 
bathe your face each day for nine days. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1203. 

1 5 19 Rain water caught the first of June will cure freckles. It 
will not putrefy. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 53 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1206 (the first shower in May) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, 
No. 840 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 62 (freckles are caused by 
rain falling on the face while the sun is shining [German]); Fogel, 
No. 1638 (if rain strikes a child's face before it is a year old its com- 
plexion will become rusty and freckled [German]) ; No. 1630 (if rain 
falls on you while there is a rainbow, you will get freckles [German]) ; 
No. 1629 (same as Brendle-Unger, above) — Ozarks: Randolph, 162; 
Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162. 

1520 Get rain water out of a hollow stump and wash freckles 
with the water, and the freckles will go away. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. In none of the following 
references is there mention specifically of rain water in a stump, but 
stump or "spunk" water is usually understood to be rain water. Ten- 
nessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 22 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 62 (wash 
the face on the first day of May with water found in a stump [Ger- 
man] ) ; Fogel, No. 1634 (wash freckles in March with water collected in 
a hollow stump [German]); Grumbine, 279 (rise before the sun and, 
without speaking, go out and bathe the face with the water collected 
in the hollow of a tree stump ; then, without using a towel, slap the bare 
upper arms with the hands at every step until the threshold of the home 
is again crossed. The freckles will migrate from the face to the arms 
before many days) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 36, No. 2 (find a stump 
in which there is water, and, beginning May ist, for ten successive morn- 
ings go secretly before sunrise and wash face and hands in this water) 
— Illinois: Allison, No. 138; Hyatt, No. 3919. 

1 521 Wash your face in the water that has stood in the hollow 
of an oak stump or tree, and it will remove freckles. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 2318 (wash in stump water on first of May) — Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 1210; Stuart, 8 (wash nine times in stump water) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 3920. HDA VII, 608. 

1 522 Water in which a blacksmith has cooled his iron is a cure 
for freckles. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 53 — Massachusetts: Bergen, 
Current, No. 843 — Ocarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162. 

1523 Wash in lime water every morning as a cure for freckles. 

Anonymous. Cf. Iowa: Stout, No. 905 (soak an old rag in lye water 
overnight ; then rub it on the freckles and throw it into the street for 
someone to pick up — and the freckles, too). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 199 

1524 Wear a straw hat lined with green cloth, and sweat the 
freckles away. 

Anonymous. 

1525 To cure freckles, go to a stone, step over it three times, 
then backwards three times. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1211 
(order of stepping over it is reversed). 

1526 To get rid of freckles, count them and put an equal num- 
ber of pebbles into a paper. 

G. W. Allen (New York). Cf. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 10 (counting 
only). 

Frostbite 

1527 If corncobs are burned under the feet that have been 
frosted, it will take the frost out. 

Marjorie Rea, Craven county. California: Loomis, Medicine, 118 (a 
poultice made from Indian meal [corn meal], covered with moistened 
leaves of green tea). 

1528 Water in which pine needles have been boiled will cure 
frozen feet, if allowed to soak in it. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafiftown, Forsyth county. 

1529 Wear red pepper in your shoes and you'll never have 
frost-bitten feet. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Tennessee: McGlasson, 14, 
No. 8 (apply a plaster of strong [black] pepper), 15, No. 22 ([black] 
pepper in the shoes). 

1530 Clay mud is good for frostbite and frozen limbs. 
Anonymous. 

1 53 1 For frostbite, apply a piece of ice to the spot for at least 
fifteen minutes. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 91 (set feet in cold spring 
water before sunrise) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 51 (bathed in 
ice-cold water [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5232 (cold water). 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 421 (cold water near freezing; ice and bacon). 

1532 To cure frost-bitten heels, run around the house three 
times in the snow. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Tennessee: Farr, 
Riddles, No. 16 (first snow of the year; otherwise the same) ; Frazier, 
35, No. 35 (rub feet with snow) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 51 
(rub frozen limbs with snow), 52 (a person with frozen feet was to walk 
out in the snow barefooted) — Illinois: Allison, No. 77; Hyatt, No. 
5223 (walk around the house every morning barefoot in the snow and 

your feet will never become cold or frozen). Hovorka-Kronfeld ir, 

421. 



200 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Gall (Galding) 

1533 If carried in the pocket, leaves or blooms of the alder 
bush will prevent the body from galding, 

Henry Belk, Monroe, Union county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4638 ("We 
went and planted several elderberry bushes in our back yard so we could 
get the leaves in the summer so we could carry them in our pockets to 

keep from getting galled"). Radford, 112 (elder twigs to keep horses 

from galling). 

Gall Bladder 

1534 For gall bladder trouble, rub on axle grease freely. 

Anonymous. 

Gall Stones 

1535 When bothered with gall stones, take a hot, greasy plate 
that has been used over meat or beans while they were cooking, 
and place it over the region of the bladder. 

Anonymous, and J. Frederick Doering, Durham. In an unrelated cure, 
mention is made of charming away gallstones "even though the patient is 
miles away." 

Gargle 

1536 Bicarbonate of soda mixed with a few grains of salt and 
dissolved in water, is effective as a gargle. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

Glandular Ailments 

1537 Go to a small size rock, pick it up without speaking, and 
make a cross on the swollen gland. Put the rock back and the 
swelling will disappear. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

Goiter 

1538 For a goiter, wear a string of beads about the neck. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, and Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, 
Wayne county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 285; No. 288 (heavy beads; blue 
beads) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5275 (wear a necklace of black beads, 
and when the supporting string rots, the goiter will disappear) ; No. 
5276 (coral beads) ; No. 5287 (red beads) — Nebraska: Black, 35, No. 
39 (heavy beads). 

1539 To cure goiter, wear amber beads always, 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Kentucky: Sanders, 
17 (as the goiter reduced in size beads were taken off) ; Stuart, 10 — 
Nezv York: Gardner, No. 2Q (for thick neck) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 
305 — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 36, No. i — Illinois: Allison, No. 115 
(for enlarged thyroid) ; Hyatt, No. 5273; Norlin, 206, No. 31 (big neck) 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 201 

— Ozarks: Randolph, Ozark, 82; Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162 — Nebraska: 
Black, 36, No. 45. HDA i, 1092; v, 605. 

1540 Chinaberry beads worn around the neck will prevent 
goiter. 

Green Collection. 

1 541 Gold beads worn about the throat are thought to prevent 
or cure goiter. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Kentucky: Thoma.s, No. 1216 — Ohio: Bergen, 
Current, No. 798 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5284 — Osarks: Randolph, 
Ozark, 82 — Nebraska: Black, 36, No. 44 (gold chain). Cf. No. 1958, 
below. 

1542 The seventh son of the seventh son can carry goiter away 
by rubbing it. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. General: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 142 (seventh son of a seventh son) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 

287 — Washington: Tacoma, 30 (seventh son of a seventh son). 

HDA V, 605 ; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 15. 

1543 If a goiter is rubbed with a flint rock, and the rock then 
put in exactly the place it was taken from, the goiter will go 
away. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. 

Gout 

1544 To cure gout, a woman mystical healer resorted to primi- 
tive methods ; that is, she tied a string about the waist of a per- 
son suffering from gout, being careful to get the exact measure- 
ment of the diaphragm. Then she wrapped the string around 
an egg and placed it among the glowing embers in the fireplace. 
When the string burned out completely before the egg burst, she 
pronounced the patient cured. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Doering, Folk Medicine, 196. 

Gravel 

1545 Against gravel, wear a snail shell. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1546 For gravel, drink boiled grass tea. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1262 (drink tea made from 
nine buds picked from as many diflferent stalks of mullein). 

Ground Itch 

1547 Nightshade and cream will cure the ground itch. 

Green Collection. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 14 (milk- 
weed). 



202 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Grozving Pains 

1548 If you wrap a stocking around the leg it will ease growing 
pains. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

1549 Sulphur and molasses is good for growing pains in the 
springtime. 

J. Schaffner. Cf. Nos. 797 f., above. 

Growths 

1550 If one has a growth of any kind, and will look at the new 
moon and say as he rubs the growth : "This I feel grows less — 
This I see grows bigger," the growth will disappear. 

Flossie Marshbanks, Mars Hill, Madison county. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1833 (if you have a growth, look at the new moon over your 
right shoulder ; rub the place with a piece of wood and say three times : 
"What I look at increase, / What I rub decrease." This must be repeated 
three nights in succession. Some say you must rub your finger when you 
rub) — Pennsylvania: Grumbine, 282 f. (powwowing for the cure of any 
abnormal growth must be done while the moon is on the decline, and as 
it decreases so will the growth become less until, with the old moon, 
it disappears altogether). 

Gums 

1 551 Apply a split raisin to cure a gum boil. 
Edward Dreyer (Louisiana). 

1552 Chew sassafras to cure gum boils. 
Anonymous. 

1553 Slippery elm is good for the gums. 
J. Schaffner. 

Hair 

1554 Cutting the hair on the growing of the moon makes it 

grow. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and four other in- 
formants. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 249 — Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 1533; No. 1531 (in the increase of the moon is 
the time to pull hair if you desire it to grow again) — Ontario; Wintem- 
berg, Grey, No. 141 (the new growth will be longer and thicker) — 
New York: JAFL 11, (1889), 148, No. 7 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 100 (to prevent falling out); Brinton, 178; Fogel, Nos. 1820, 
1826 (German) ; Phillips, 165, No. 18 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2940 
(thicken hair by trimming it on the increase of the moon) ; No. 2941 

(hair with fine texture if cut in the "growing" of the moon). 

McCartney, 140; Radford, 139 f . ; Sebillot, 355- 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 203 

1555 Hair cut at full moon always grows faster than when it 
is cut when the moon is "wasting away." 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Maryland: Whitney-Rullock, No. 
1535 (if you cut the ends of your hair in the full of the moon your hair 
will grow thick) ; No. 1538 (cut the hair on the third day of the full 
moon in three successive months ; if cut at any other time it will not 
grow) — Ontario: Wintcniberg, German i, 47; 11, 86 (German); 
Wintemberg, Waterloo, 2 (hair, when inclined to split, should be cut at 
full moon; the new growth is expected to be longer and softer) — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 512 — Rio Grande: Bourke, 136 — New Mexico: 
Espinosa, 411 (Spanish) — California: Dresslar, 19. Addy, 59. 

1556 If the hair is cut during the waning of the moon, it will 
drop out. 

Ethel Hicks Buffaloe, Oxford, Granville county, and an anonymous in- 
formant. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1532 (never cut your hair 
on the wane of the moon) ; cf. No. 1537 (cut hair in the down of the 
moon) — Pennsylvania: Owens, 120 (never cut your hair in the decrease 

of the moon). HDA i, 105; Radford, 177; Udal, 280; McCartney, 

140 

1557 I^ you cut your hair on St. Patrick's Day, it will shed. 
Anonymous. 

1558 There seems little doubt that sagebrush tea is excellent 
for the hair and scalp. The leaves only should be used, and these 
ought to be gathered when green. After they have been steeped, 
the tea can be used as a shampoo, and several rinsings in cold 
water will destroy the odor. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, loi (burdock roots 
and sage leaves brewed and the Hquor applied) — Osarks: Randolph, 
Ozark, 3 (sage tea restores gray hair to its natural color and keeps 
it in good condition). Cf. No. 1562, below. 

1559 White hair is the result of trouble, or follows the sudden 
receipt of bad news. 

Green Collection. Unless otherwise specified in all the following refer- 
ences "fright" is given as the cause of white hair. South: Puckett, 400 
(a chronic "worrier" will soon find his hair turning gray [Negro]) — 
South Carolina: Bryant i, 290, No. 14 (gray) — Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 912 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 296 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 102 (trouble causes gray hair [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
2914; No. 2915 (overnight) — Iowa: Stout, No. 290 — Nebraska: 
Cannell, 33, No. 44 (worried or badly frightened) — Washington: 
Tacoma, 27. 

1560 If you throw hair outside, and birds build a nest with it, 
you will become prematurely gray. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 62; 
Doering, Customs, 151 (if a sparrow gathers your hair combings and 
uses them in building a nest, your hair will turn white within a year) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 1537 (if you hear a screech owl calling at night, 
you migiit find a streak of gray hair in your head next morning). Cf. 
Nos. 493, above, and 1583, below. HDA ni, 1272. 



204 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1 561 If a white (gray) hair is pulled out, two will come in its 
place. 

Green Collection ; Dixie V. Lamm, Lucama, Wilson county ; and two 
other informants from eastern and central counties. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1529 (if you pull out a white hair, others will come in its 
place) — Pennsylvania : Brendle-Unger, 102 (if gray hairs are counted, 
their number soon will be doubled [German]) — New Mexico: Espinosa, 
418, No. 56 (if gray hair is pulled out, more comes out). In the fol- 
lowing references the number of hairs pulled out, white or gray, will 
be given according to geographical location ; as usual, items in the first 
batch which tally with No. 1561 will be given without comment unless 
"gray" is involved. General: Bergen, Current, No. 129 — South Caro- 
lina: Bryant i, 291, No. 32 (9 gray) — • Kentucky: Thomas, No. 899 
(if you pull out a white hair, two, three, or ten will grow in its place) 
— Louisiana: Roberts, No. 297 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2910 (gray) — 
Texas: Turner, 173 (gray) — Nebraska: Cannell, 33, No. 43 (white 
hair: two, three, seven, or ten) — Washington: Tacoma, 27 (white 
hair: two, or three, or ten) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2911 (gray hair: 
five) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 102 (gray hair; seven [Ger- 
man]) ; Fogel, No. 1813 (if you pull a white hair, seven will come to its 
funeral [German]) ; Phillips, 166, No. 41 (gray hair: seven) — Wash- 
ington: Tacoma, 11 (gray hair: seven) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 169, 
No. 254 (pull out a white hair and ten will follow [French]) — New 
England: Johnson, WJiat They Say, 62 (gray hair: ten or twelve) — 
Indiana: Busse, 24, No. 31 (white hair: ten) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
2912 (if you jerk out a gray hair, ten will come to its funeral) ; No. 2913 
(gray hair: eleven). 

1562 Boil the leaves of sage, and when it is cold, brush the 
hair good and apply this tea ; it will restore your hair to its 
natural color. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Ozarks: Randolph, 164. 
Cf. No. 1558, above. 

1563 Wash the hair with the sap of a grapevine to make it grow 
long and curly. 

The Misses Holeman, Durham county. South: Puckett, 318 (to make 
your hair grow, cut some of it off, wrap around a piece of grapevine 
and plant — if the vines take root and grow, your hair will grow with 
them). Cf. No. 189, above, for the use of grapevine as a children's 
shampoo. 

1564 Wash your hair in water made from March snow if you 
want pretty hair. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 
249 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 2968. 

Hands 

1 565 If a bat bites your hand, the hand will decay. 
Madge Colclough, Durham county. 

1566 Rub the hands with the first snow that falls, and you will 
not have sore hands all winter. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 205 

Headache, Head Ailments 

1567 The moon is the controlling planet of head ailments. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. California: Drcsslar, 20 (moonshine 

on the face of a sleeper will cause headache). Kamp, 32, No. 7 (one 

must not see a new moon under a roof at New Year's on pain of being 
exposed to headache for a whole year). 

1568 Never go in one door of a house and out of another; if 
you do, it will give you a headache. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1569 If you get up on the wrong side of the bed, you will have 
a headache. 

Merle Smith, Stanly county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 5859 ff. (for 
the positions of sleeping, direction of the bed, etc.) — Neiv Mexico: 
Espinosa, 413 (the head of the bed must never be placed toward the 
rising sun, since it will cause the sleeper to rise with a bad headache 
[Spanish]). 

1570 To relieve the headache, press the head hard with the 
hands, both in front and behind, and on the sides. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Cf. South: Puckett, 307 
(placing hands on the head, but with no mention of a blessing [Negro]) ; 
379 (squeezing the head from front to back [Negro]) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1226 (you can cure headache by pressing the hand on the 
forehead so as to press each pulse-beating place) — Nezv England: 
Johnson, What They Say, 83 (rubbing the head, with a transfer of an 
attenuated case to the ministrant) — Texas: Turner, 168 (press your 
thumb against the roof of your mouth to stop a headache) — Nebraska: 
Black, 9, No. 7 (a person born in October has power to cure a headache 
by rubbing the forehead and temples). 

1 571 You inust not cut your hair in March, for you will have 
headaches the rest of the year. 

Sue Hull (Indiana), and Julian P. Boyd and Ella Smith, Yadkin county. 
General: Bergen, Animal, No. 737 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 2798 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5390. 

1572 Always put your hair under a rock when it is cut. If the 
birds get your hair, you will have the headache. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. In the following refer- 
ences no mention is made of birds — simply burial of the hair under a 
rock. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1228 (hair combings) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5392 (combings) — Ozarks: Randolph, 133 (a persistent headache 
may be "conjured off" by putting a lock of one's hair under a stone 
and not mentioning either the hair or the treatment for seven days). 

Cf. Nos. 1578 ff., below. Wessman, 12 f. (hair must not be thrown 

where birds can get it). 

1573 To cure headaches, the next time the sufferer's hair is cut, 
bury the cuttings in the middle of a spring that rises on the north 
side of a hill. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Vermont: Bergen, Animal, No. 736. 



206 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1574 A man near Lillington believes that a Negro's hair will 
cure headache. 

Green Collection. 

1575 To walk in another's track will give that person the head- 
ache. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. No. 1576, below. 

1576 Stepping continuously in another's footprints will cause 
severe headaches. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 433 (headache if you walk in your 
mother's tracks [Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1031 (if you 
spit into anyone's tracks you will have a headache) — Tennessee: Farr, 
Riddles, No. 232; Farr, Superstitions, No. 233; Redfield, No. 174 — 
Ozarks: Randolph, 60 (tracks in mud or snow). 

1577 If a bat strikes you on the head, you will suffer with 
headaches the remainder of your life. 

Anonymous. For baldness induced by the same misfortune, see No. 844, 
above. 

1578 If a bird gets your hair combings and makes a nest of 
them, you will have a headache. 

Green Collection, and five other informants from widely separated locali- 
ties. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 738 — South: Puckett, 399 (Negro) 

— South Carolina: Bryant 11, 141, No. 133; Fitchett, 360 (Negro) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 622 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 351 1 

— Georgia: Steiner, No. 75 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 286 (birds lining 
nests with hair) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 300; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 
85 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 99, loi f. (German) ; Fogel, Nos. 
1824 f. (German) ; Grumbine, 286; Rupp, 252 (German) — Wisconsin: 
Brown, Birds, 7 — Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 221 ; Brewster, Speci- 
mens, 367 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5394 — Osarks: Randolph, 165 (a 

series of terrible headaches) — Nebraska: Cannell, Zi, No. 45. 

Black, Folk-Medicine, 16; Foster, 60; Napier, 114; HDA in, 1272; v, 
232 (the pressure of the bird sitting on the nest is magically transferred 
to the head) ; Storaker, Mennesket, Nos. 82, 85. 

1579 If your hair is used to make a bird's nest, you will have 
headache all the year, 

Julian P. Boyd. General: Knortz, 139 (headache for a week). 

1580 If a bird uses some of your hair in her nest, you will have 
the headache as long as the nest is used. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, and Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 625 — Louisiana: Williamson, No. 11 
(the person will suffer while the bird is sitting) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5395 (you will suffer until the nest is destroyed) — lozva: Stout, No. 
298 (same as previous item) — California: Dresslar, 28 (you will 
suffer headaches as long as the bird sits). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 207 

1 581 If a bird uses a person's hair in building its nest, the 
person will suffer from headache the rest of his life. 

S. M. Gardner, Macon, Warren county, and five other informants from 
widely separated counties. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5396. 

1582 Headache is a sign that your hair has been used in a bird's 
nest. The head will ache as long as the hair is used, or until it 
grows back again. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

1583 When your hair is cut, every hair must be burned lest a 
bird get some, build her nest with it, and give you headache, 

O. W. Blacknall, Kittrell, Vance county. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
71 (German); Rupp, 252, No. 7 (German). Cf. Nos. 493, 1560, above. 

1584 To cure headache, take a live frog and bind it to your 
head, and let it stay there till it dies. 

Green Collection. Bahamas: Clavel, 17 (tie two live frogs, one on each 
temple, with a cloth, but don't let them die on you ; when you release 
them, they will be weak and die, and your headache is gone) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5413 (toad tied on head in linen). 

1585 If you walk through a place where a horse wallows, you 
will have a headache. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. Washington: Tacoma, 29. 

1586 Eating the brain of a screech owl is the only dependable 
remedy for headache. 

George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, n.d. HDA v, 233 (Pliny). 

1587 Catch a mole, allow it to die in your hands, and you can 
cure headache. 

Anonymous. 

1588 Headaches may be cured by wearing the rattles of a rattle- 
snake in the lining of the hat. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1231 (wear a snake rattle 
in the hair day and night) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 404 (carry the 
rattle of a rattlesnake in your pocket) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5407 — 
Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 73; Smith, Folk Cures, 82 — Texas: Wood- 
hull, 57 (a rattlesnake rattle in the crown of the sombrero) — Nebraska: 
Black, 9, No. 2; Pound, 165 (also rattles held against the head) — 
Kansas: Davenport, 132 (wearing rattles of a rattlesnake in one's hat) 
— West and Southwest: Bergen, Animal, No. 28 — Neiu Mexico: Moya, 
55 (rattles placed on the head under the hat [Spanish]) — California: 
Dresslar, 49 (rattles in your hair) ; Southern California Practioner i 
(1886), 215 (a Los Angeles doctor asked a female patient if she had 
the headache. "No, not since I began wearing rattlesnake rattles in 
my hair. That cured me at once"). 



208 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1589 If you wear a snakeskin in your hat, you won't have the 
headache. 

Virginia Bowers, Stanly county. Nebraska: Pound, 165 (application of 
a snakeskin will cure a headache) — Kansas: Davenport, 132 (the 

skin of a snake worn around one's hat crown). Black, Folk-Medicine, 

156; Radford, 146, 221; Udal, 224, 249; HDA vii, 1167 (England and 
Spain). 

1590 Against headache wear swallow stones. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Although swallow 
stones are mentioned as a cure for numerous maladies, also in magical 
practices, no mention is made of their use in the treatment of headache. 
Instructive, however, is the treatise on how the stones are obtained 
(HDA VII, 1400 fif.) 

1 591 To cure headache, bathe the head in camphor. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Kentucky: Fowler, 
No. 33 (rub the temples with and inhale spirits of camphor) — Ten- 
nessee: Carter, 4 (a vomiting headache can be relieved by rubbing cam- 
phor on the forehead and binding the head with flannel) — Jamaica: 
Beckwith, Jamaica, No. 47 (wet three leaves with camphor or bay rum 
and bind on the head) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 4 (rub some camphor 

across the forehead and count to twenty, and the cold will be gone). 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 193 (Slovakia). 

1592 For headache, put camphor into a bottle with a little rye 
whiskey, and shake. Saturate a cloth, and place on the head. 
Sniff the fumes, too. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63. 

1593 Put a drop of castor oil on the top of your head for nine 
successive days to cure headaches. 

Anonymous. Cf. Georgia: Campbell, 3 (a poultice of castor bean leaves 
is good for headaches). 

1594 Wilted collard is good for headaches. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 379 (parched collard leaves tied 
around your head [Negro]). 

1595 Gypsum weed [gypsyweed?] leaves will cure headache. 
Green Collection. 

1596 Jimson leaves, wilted in the oven, are used for headaches. 

Green Collection, and Constance Patten, Greensboro. South: Puckett, 379 
(Jimson weed bound to the aching part) ; 364 (a poultice of Jamestown 
weed). 

1597 A mustard plaster put on the back of the neck will cure 
the headache. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Texas: Woodhull, 57 (and also a 
plaster under each foot) — Nebraska: Black, 9, No. 9 (same as 
previous item). Cf. also Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5416. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 209 

1598 For headache, apply a mustard plaster to the pit of the 
stomach. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212. 

1599 To beat mustard seed, and put it on brown paper, wet 
with vinegar, is good for a sick headache. 

Virginia Bowers, Stanly county. For treatments involving vinegar and 
brown paper, of. Nos. 1603 ff., below. Mustard applications are treated 
in 1597 f., above. 

1600 A headache cure is to bind peach and gourd leaves to the 
head. 

Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. South: Puckett, 
379 (peach leaves only tied around the head and neck [Negro]) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 100 (a poultice made of juniper berries, 
white rosin, and kernels of peach stones laid to the temples [German]). 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 189 (Italy). 

1601 Powdered snakeroot is a cure for headaches. 

F. C. Brown, Durham. West Virginia: Musick, 6 (snakeroot tea). 

1602 To cure headache, tie tanzie (tansy) around your head. 
Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. 

1603 To cure a headache, bandage the head with a piece of 
brown paper very tightly. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. 1604 flf., below. 

1604 Apply a brown paper wet in vinegar to the head, and it 
will cure headache. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and the Green Collec- 
tion. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 47 (brown paper dipped in 
vinegar and salt) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1223 — Illinois: Allison, 
No. 167 (scrapings of brown paper and vinegar) Foster, 60. 

1605 Take brown paper, wet with vinegar, and sprinkle with 
pepper. Bind this around the neck, or on the forehead, to cure 
headache. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 
63 (brown paper saturated with vinegar is wrapped around the head) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5403 (same as previous item) ; 5415 (black pepper 
and a few drops of vinegar taken in hot water). 

1606 A towel saturated with vinegar will cure headache. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 180, No. 
171 (put vinegar and cold water on the head [French]) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 100 (wring out a cloth saturated in vinegar and bind 
around the throbbing forehead) — Iowa: Stout, No. 1030 (a mixture of 
vmegar and salt). 



2IO NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1607 Put a handful of salt on top of your head to cure the 
headache. 

Ella Smith, Yadkin county. Cf. South: Puckett, 379 (salt on the mole 
of the head will bring about a cure [of headache?] [Negro]) — Quebec: 
Marie-Ursule, 180, No. 175 (apply very salty butter to the temples) — 
Nezu Mexico: Moya, 54 (a mixture of salt and mud applied around the 
head [Spanish]). Cf. the Iowa reference in No. 1606, above. 

1608 A jet necklace keeps off headaches. 

Green Collection. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 9, No. 3 (wear earrings to cure 
headache) ; ibid., No. 4 (cure headache by rubbing a stone on your 
forehead [Indian]). 

1609 For headache, wash your face every morning before 
breakfast in a stream of water that runs north. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. Cf. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, 
No. 12 (to prevent headache, drink from a spring which flows toward 
the sunrise). 

1 610 Get your head wet in the first rain of IVIay and you will 
not have a headache for the rest of the year. 

Josie Foy, Durham ; Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh ; and the Green 
Collection. North Carolina: Brewster, Customs, 248 — South Carolina: 
Bryant 11, 138, No. 46 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, loi (rain falling 
on the bare head during the dog days will cause headaches [German]) ; 
Fogel, Nos. 1466, 1823 (same as Brendle-Unger) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5409 (to be free from headaches, wash your head with snow water 
on Good Friday). 

161 1 In case of a nervous headache, if the person will walk 
backwards for the distance of fifty yards without turning his 
head, it will stop in the length of time that it takes to walk fifty 
yards. 

Green Collection. 

Heartburn 

1 61 2 Peppermint is good for heartburn. 
Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. 

161 3 Wintergreen (mountain tea) is good for heartburn. 
Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. 

1614 Take a pinch of soda for heartburn. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191. 

1 61 5 To spit on a rock and lay another rock over it is a cure 
for heartburn. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 211 

Heart Trouble 

i6i6 Heart troubles, the Cherokee Indian doctors say, are 
caused by the lungs becoming wrapped around the heart and 
thus impeding its action. They should be treated with a con- 
coction of fern leaves, because these leaves when young are 
coiled up, but unwrap as they grow older. 
Anonymous. 

1 617 A fluttering heart is cured by wearing a nutmeg on a 
string, allowing it to hang just below the fork of the breast. 

Green Collection. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 462 (to cure heart 
disease tie two nutmegs on a string and tie this around the person's neck. 
When the string breaks and the nutmegs "drap" the trouble will dis- 
appear). 

1618 The wearing of a gold watch near the heart will cause 
heart disease. 

Green Collection. 

1 61 9 If the nails show half moons on each finger, it's a sign 
that you are afflicted with heart trouble, 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1620 To take the rings off one's finger will bring heart trouble. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. Washington: Tacoma, 28. Cf. Nos. 

1621 ff., below. 

1 62 1 Wearing a brass ring will cure one of heart trouble. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). South: Puckett, 388 (Negro). Cf. Nos. 773, 
^237, 1304, above; 2055 f., 2283 flf. below. 

1622 The wearing of a brass ring on the first finger of the right 
hand is good for heart disease. 

Green Collection. 

1623 A brass ring worn on the left little finger is said to be cure 
for heart trouble. 

Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh. Cf. South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 
(a brass ring on a finger of the left hand; little finger not specified 
[Negro]). 

Hemorrhage 

1624 A sure cure for hemorrhage is to repeat a certain verse in 
the Bible. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. For a treatment of charms 
and other verbal cures and blessings, see Nos. 879 fif., above. 



212 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1625 "Conjur" doctors can stop hemorrhages by having an- 
other person repeat with the patient: "And when I passed by 
thee and saw thee poHuted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, 
Live !" 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. Cf. Nos. 775 and 881 f., above, for 
a treatment of this charm, which is taken from Ezekiel 16 :6. 

1626 The seventh son can stop hemorrhage. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Nos. 223 f., 
above, for general references to the curative powers of seventh sons. 

Hiccough 

1627 To stop the hiccoughs, put the ends of both thumbs be- 
hind the ears and push inward. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1237 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5425. For the use of thumbs in connection with 
movements of the other fingers and arms, see Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 
198 f. Cf. No. 1631, below. 

1628 To cure hiccoughs, press on the hollow in your throat for 
a little while. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

1629 Hold your hands above your head to cure hiccough. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5420 (lie on your back and 
stretch your arms straight up in the air to cure hiccough). Hovorka- 
Kronfeld, II, 198 (lock thumbs and raise the arms). 

1630 To cure hiccough, make the hiccougher hold up his arm 
and shake it. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Laval, 24, No. 12 (pull the patient's arms). 

1 63 1 A cure for hiccoughs is to try for a long time to make the 
edges of the thumb nails meet at the end. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 851; Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1874. Cf. No. 1627, above. 

1632 For hiccough, hold your little fingers together for three 
minutes. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. New England: Johnson, 
What They Say, 164 (see how near you can hold your little fingers to- 
gether without their touching). This same treatment is resorted to in 
Illinois with index fingers (Hyatt, No. 5428), and in Iowa with middle 
fingers (Stout, No. 952). 

1633 If you have the hiccoughs, think of a fox with no tail, 
Julian P. Boyd. 

1634 Take three swallows of strong coffee to cure hiccoughs. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 198 (Pala- 
tinate). 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 213 

1635 Damson jam will stop hiccoughs. 

Green Collection ; the Misses Holeman, Durham county ; and Mamie 
Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5436 (plum pre- 
serves). 

1636 Nine swallows of lemonade will cure hiccoughs. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, 

No. 5433 (swallow a little sugar in a teaspoonful of lemon juice). 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 81. 

1637 Chew pine straws for hiccoughs. 

Anonymous. Cf. South: Puckett, 372 (put some [plain] straw in the 
top of the hair [Negro]). 

1638 A spoonful of dry sugar is good for hiccoughs. 

J. Schaflfner, and an anonymous informant. Tennessee: McGlasson, 19, 
No. 3 (a taste of sugar) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 177, No. 102 (place 
a piece of sugar in the mouth and let it melt gradually) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1427 (eat a little sugar) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5439 (let 

a teaspoonful of sugar dissolve on the tongue) • California: Funk, 

No. II (users of the cure are from Idaho, Kansas, and Missouri). 

1639 Take a teaspoonful of sugar and let it dissolve before 
swallowing as a cure for hiccough. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 14, No. 77 
(sugar followed by a drink of water). 

1640 For hiccoughs, saturate a lump of sugar in vinegar and 
eat it slowly. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Louisiana: Roberts, No. 421 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5440 — Nebraska: Black, 14, No. 73 (fill a dessert spoon half full 

of sugar, and fill the rest with vinegar) — Idaho: Lore, 212. 

Taboada, 40 (a lump of sugar dipped in vinegar). 

1 641 If somebody tells somebody else to get you a drink, it will 
stop hiccough. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1236. 

1642 For stopping hiccoughs, look real hard into the middle 
of a glass of water. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Illinois: Norlin, 206, No. 40. 

1643 A glass of water sipped slowly, while holding one's 
breath, is a cure for hiccoughs. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 176, No. 97 

(drink three mouthfuls of water without taking a breath [French]). 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 81 f. 

1644 To Stop hiccoughs, drink a swallow of water, then take 
eight deep breaths. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. 



214 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1645 Three swallows of water will cure hiccoughs. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5444 (Drink three 
sups up / Will cure the hiccoughs up). In the following references the 
three swallows are taken while holding the breath: Quebec: Marie- 
Ursule, 176, No. 97 (three mouthfuls [French]) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 133 [German]); Fogel, No. 1526 (three, seven, or 

nine swallows [German] ) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5445. Storaker, 

Sygdom, Nos. 369 f. 

1646 Seven sips of water will cure hiccoughs. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Phillips, 164, No. 16. 

1647 Drink seven swallows of water without catching your 
breath, and it will stop hiccoughs. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5446 — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 1042 (Scotch) — California: Dresslar, 81. 

1648 If you have hiccough, and you drink eight drops of water, 
it will stop. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county. 

1649 To stop hiccoughs, drink nine swallows of water. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and five other inform- 
ants. General: Knortz, 54 — South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (Negro) — 
Kentucky: Stuart, 8 (from a tin cup) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 19, 
No. I ; O'Dell, Doctor, No. 14 (nine sips of water — no more, no less) ; 
O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 422 (nine sips from 
a teacup) — Prince Edward Island: Bergen, Current, No. 849 (nine sips 
slowly) — Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 849 — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 
36, No. 2 (nine sips of water taken three at a time) — Illinois: Allison, 
No. 141 (nine sips) — Missouri: Yoflfie, 383 (nine sips [Jewish]) — 
Osarks: Randolph, 149 (stick your fingers in your ears, and have a per- 
son of the opposite sex pour nine cups of rain water down your throat). 

1650 Drink nine swallows of water without breathing, and it 
will cure hiccough. 

Esther F. Royster, Henderson, Vance county, and five other informants. 
South: Puckett, 372 (Negro) — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 58 
— Kentucky: Fowler, No. 1235a (nine sips) — Tennessee: Frazier, 35, 
No. 28 (nine sips) ; Rogers, 31 — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 8 (nine sups 
and seven swallows, respectively, without taking a breath) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5447 — New Mexico: Espinosa, 411, No. 25 (nine draughts 
[Spanish]). 

1651 Take nine swallows of water, and hold your breath as 
long as you can, and you will stop hiccoughing. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. 

1652 For hiccoughs, drink nine swallows of water and count 
them backwards. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, 
No. 92 (the same except that no breath should be taken between counts). 



superstitions: rody, folk medicine 215 

1653 To cure hiccough, drink nine swallows of water, and take 
nine steps backward. 

Roberta Elizabeth Pridgeon, Lenoir county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1235 (take nine sips of water, count nine backward, and then turn around 
nine times) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5448 (hold nine sips of water in your 
mouth, count nine backward, then turn around nine times ; and your 
hiccough will be gone). 

1654 Take nine sips of water, count nine backwards, turn 
around nine times. Think of your lover and if he loves you, you 
will not have hiccoughs any more. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 

133 (drink water and at the same time think of someone who loves you 
[German]); Fogel, No. 1525 (same as previous item) — Nebraska: 
Black, 14, No. 71 (drink nine swallows of water, holding the breath; 
then think of the person with whom you are in love and take the tenth 
swallow, and the hiccoughs will be gone). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 199. 

1655 Take nine swallows of water, saying between each, "Hic- 
cough, hiccough," to nine times. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 1684, below. 

1656 Drink fifteen swallows of water to cure hiccough. 

Anonymous. Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 198 (ten to fifteen sips). 

1657 Take soda water for hiccoughs. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 97. 

1658 To cure hiccoughs, take soda and vinegar, a teaspoonful 
of each in a glass of sweetened water. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: 
Lore, 212 (take a fizz drink of vinegar and soda). For combinations of 
vinegar and sugar, see No. 1640, above. 

1659 A Negro remedy for hiccough is to swallow twenty-four 
buckshot. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. South: Puckett, 372 (hold nine shot 
in the mouth). 

1660 Holding your breath will stop hiccough. 

J. Schaffner, and Edward Dreyer (Louisiana). General: Knortz, 54 — 
New York: Relihan, Remedies, 166 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 

134 (German). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 198. 

1 661 Hold your breath for five minutes to cure hiccough. 

Anonymous. Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 19, No. 10 (hold the breath as 
long as possible) — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 176, No. 99 (for a few 
minutes [French]) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 8 (the longest period 
possible) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5421 (a slow, deep breath held as long 
as possible). 



2l6 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1662 Hiccoughs may be stopped by counting with the mouth 
closed. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Cf. Nos. 1663 ff., below. 

1663 For hiccoughs, hold your breath and count nine. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1234 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5422. 

1664 For hiccough, hold your breath and count twenty. 
Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1665 A way to cure hiccoughs is to press on the upper lip just 
beneath the nose while you count twenty-five. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

1666 For hiccough, hold your breath until you count fifty. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Pennsylvania: Phillips, 164, No. 15 (hold the 
breath until fifty are counted, during which time the end of one's finger 
must be intently regarded; at the end of that period a small spider will 
make its appearance on the tip of the finger) — Idaho: Lore, 212. 

1667 Count to fifty backward while holding the breath, and 
this will cure hiccoughs. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county. 

1668 To cure hiccoughs, count backward : 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, i. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

1669 To cure hiccoughs, arouse the person's curiosity. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Customs, 152. 

1670 To cure hiccoughs, tell some big something to get people's 
minds diverted from their thoughts and get their minds on what 
you tell. 

Edna Whitley, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Scare the one troubled with 
hiccoughs by some startling announcement or accusation, such as "See, 
you've torn your dress!" or, "How did you break my vase?" etc. Cf. 
Bergen, Current, No. 848. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 198. 

1671 Tell a person who has the hiccoughs something exciting. 
Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. Cf. No. 1670, above. 

1672 A custom in the cure of hiccoughs is to point a finger 
steadily at the hiccougher. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Bergen, Current, No. 848. 

1673 Sudden fright cures the hiccoughs. 

Green Collection, and five other informants from widely separated locali- 
ties. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 59 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 217 

1238 — Tennessee: Frazier, 35, No. 29; McGlasson, 19, No. 7; Redfield, 
No. 94 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 420 — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 176, 
No. 98 (French) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1456 (German) — Indi- 
ana: Brewster, Cures, 36, No. i ; Busse, 15, No. 6 (say something start- 
ling or scary) ; Halpert, Cures, 8 — Illinois: AlHson, No. 143; Hyatt, 

No. 5429 — Nebraska: Black, 14, No. 70 — California: Funk, No. i. 

Laval, 24, No. 12 ; Taboada, 40 ; Wessman, 40. 

1674 Sudden fright to cause forgetfulness will cure hiccoughs. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. No. 1673, above. 

1675 To cure hiccoughs, tickle the nose with a chicken feather. 
Anonymous. 

1676 To cure hiccoughs, tickle the feet of the affected person 
until he laughs. 

Anonymous. 

1677 To cure hiccoughs, call the person a liar. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 423 (tell 
a lie to a person who has the hiccough). 

1678 Sudden shame to cause forgetfulness will cure hiccoughs. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Accusations of lying 
to induce shame, and thus divert attention from hiccoughs, are resorted to 
(cf. No. 1677, above) ; also stealing (Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 
13 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 134 (German) ; Fogel, No. 1491 
(German). Laval, 24, No. 12. 

1679 Think of the one you love best to cure hiccoughs. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Prince Edward Island: Bergen, Current, No. 
852 — California: Dresslar, 137 (hold the breath and think of the one 
who loves you). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 199. 

1680 To stop hiccoughs, think of your lover. If he loves you, 
you will not have it any more. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county, and Mamie Mansfield, Durham 
county. From Maryland : To cure hiccoughs, repeat these lines : "I have 
got them, / To my lover I will send them, / If he loves me he will take 
them, / If he hates me he will send them back again." South: Puckett, 
372 (Negro) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1239 — Tennessee: Redfield, 
No. lOi — Pennsylvania: Shoemaker, 10 (never think of the girl you 
like while having the hiccoughs ; it will cure the trouble, but will give 
it to the girl). For thinking of one's lover while drinking water, hold- 
ing the breath, etc., see No. 1654, above. 

1 681 To cure hiccoughs, place your two little fingers together 
and think of the one you love. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 1632, 1679 f., above. 

1682 Tie a string around your neck as a cure for hiccoughs. 
Anonymous. 



2l8 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1683 To cure hiccups, put the thumb up against the lower lip, 
with the fingers under the chin and say, "hiccup, hiccup, over 
my thumb" nine times. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 54 (against the upper lip) — 
Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 850. 

1684 To cure hiccups repeat the following verse nine times in 
succession : 

Hiccups, kickups, 
Straight up three times, 
Is good for hiccups. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 99 (say 
this three times to cure hiccough: "Hiccough [he-cup], teacup; Jump up, 
Jacob") — Osarks: Randolph, 149 (stand on one leg and cry "Hick-up, 
stick-up, lick-up, hick-up" three times without pausing for breath). Cf. 
No. 1655, above. 

1685 For hiccoughs the nurse used to say in a droning, deep, 
ghostly tone : 

There was an old man and an old woman, 
And they lived in a bottle and eat bones. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 847. 

1686 To cure hiccoughs repeat in one breath the words: 

There was an old woman who lived all alone, 

And she was made of skin and bone. 

One day to church she went to pray, 

And on the ground a man there lay, 

And from his head unto his feet 

The worms crawled in, the worms crawled out. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 53 f. — Massachusetts: Bergen, 
Current, No. 846 (2 versions). 

1687 To cure hiccoughs, repeat the little verse : 

Raise up, rise up. 

Three sups in the teacup. 

Is good for hiccups. 

To repeat this three times in rapid succession, without a single 
hiccup between repetitions, is a sure cure for hiccups. 
Green Collection. 

1688 To cure hiccoughs, clench your teeth and repeat nursery 
rhymes. 

Anonymous. Cf. New York: Relihan, Remedies, 166 (tell a ghost story) ; 
(repeat the first stanza of the "Star Spangled Banner"). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 219 

Hives 

1689 Take ground ivy and make a tea out of it to cure hives. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county. Tennessee: Frazier, 34, No. 2. 

Hoarseness 

1690 The white of an tgg, beaten with lemon juice and sugar, 
will cure hoarseness. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

1 691 For hoarseness, take a drop of kerosene on a spoonful of 
sugar. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

Hydrophobia 

1692 To prevent rabies, kill the dog, and the person bitten will 
be safe. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South: Wiltse, Folk-Lore, 206 — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1725 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1172 
(if a dog that bites a person goes mad later, so will the person; therefore 
kill the dog straightway) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 18, No. 2 (kill the 
dog and put its tooth under a rock) ; No. 5 (cut the dog's head ofif and 
lay it under the doorstep) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 412 — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 279 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4535 — Nebraska: Black, 
42, No. 36 (to prevent insanity caused by dog bite) — Kansas: Bergen, 

Animal, No. 107 — California: Dresslar, 40 Laval, 24, No. 16. Cf. 

Nos. 725, 1292, above, 2139, below. 

1693 In Charlotte there is a madstone, found in the stomach 
of a deer, that is guaranteed by the owner to cure any one af- 
fected with hydrophobia. 

Louise W. Sloan, Davidson, Bladen county, and Sue Hull (Indiana). 
"A madstone is a preventive of rabies, because it extracts from the 
wound made by the dogs or other animals afflicted with rabies (and mad) 
the virus deposit which is contained in the saliva or secretion of the 
animal's mouth." Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1869 — Mississippi: 
Hudson, 154 ("Belief in the prophylactic powers of the madstone has 
widespread acceptance among the folk. I know of several people who 
claim to have prevented hydrophobia through its application, and who say 
that it has other curative properties. The madstone is a hard small 
growth found lying unattached in the abdominal region of a deer or 
sheep. Madstones vary in size, from that of a pumpkin seed to that 
of a gourd. The surface is rough like a sponge and dull brown in 
color"). For a further discussion, see No. 1294, above; different uses 

are noted in Nos. 2149, 2240, 2267, below. Black, Folk-Medicine, 144; 

Baughman, D1515.S. 

1694 Against hydrophobia wear a dog's and a wolf's tooth. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Knortz, 127 (whoever 
carries a tooth of a mad dog that has bitten a person in a little leather 
bag next to his skin under his shoulder need never fear being bitten by 

a hydrophobic dog). Black, Folk-Medicine, 154 (skin of a wolf); 

Radford, 153 (liver of dead hydrophobic dog fed to child). 



220 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1695 Whiskey and turpentine salts are good to drive out poison 
caused by the bite of a mad dog. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 1295, above. 

1696 Gunpowder, stuffed into a dog-bite wound and exploded, 
is used to prevent rabies. 

Newspaper clipping (unidentified). 

Indigestion 

1697 Eat the lining of a chicken gizzard to prevent and cure 
indigestion. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county ; Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell 
county; and an anonymous informant. Georgia: Campbell, 2 (Negro) 
— Texas: Woodhull, 26, 57, 13 (the president of the San Antonio land 
bank never would be without some dried chicken gizzard linings in his 
pocket ; whenever he felt an attack of indigestion coming on, he pulled 
out a piece and began chewing on it) — Nebraska: Black, 36, No. 57 
(old settlers used to save old chicken gizzards in a bottle so that the 
linings would be available for indigestion. Cf. Nos. 1314, above, and 

1698 f., below. 

1698 If one eats the inside lining of a chicken gizzard, which 
has been dried and powdered, he will be cured of indigestion. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county ; Mamie Mansfield, Durham county ; 
and an anonymous informant. Tennessee: Frazier, 35, No. 14 — Ontario: 
Wintemberg, Grey, No. 143 — Neiu England: Backus 11, 196 (dried and 
powdered gizzard taken with molasses) — New York: Relihan, Reme- 
dies, 168 — Pennsylvania: Rupp, 256, No. 28 (the inner lining of a 
chicken's gizzard, if washed, dried, and pulverized, and then taken in- 
ternally will "give the stomach a new lining" [German]). 

1699 To cure indigestion, take the inside lining of a chicken 
gizzard (craw) and make a tea. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and three other informants 
from eastern and central counties. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1247 (broth 
made from chicken gizzards) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5602 (a tea- 
spoonful of the dried lining of a chicken gizzard in a little water is 
taken for catarrh of the stomach) — Ozarks: Randolph, 95 — Oklahoma: 
Smith, Animals, 75 — Texas: Lewis, 267 (broth made from the lining 
of a chicken gizzard) ; Turner, 168 — Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191. 

1700 If you swallow a bug called "belly-buster" that stays in 
springs, you will swell up and burst. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

1 701 To cure indigestion, hold a piece of dried dog's excrement 
on the stomach for a few hours. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 426 (dog's ex- 
crement held on the navel). 

1702 Drink alfalfa tea for stomach ache. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 221 

1703 Boneset [Eupatorium perfoliatum] tea is good for the 
stomach. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63. 

1704 Buck root is claimed to be an infallible remedy for stom- 
ach disorders. 

Green Collection. 

1705 Chew calamus root for pains in the stomach. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, 
No. 37 ("calimas") — Quebec: Rousseau, Abenakise, 154, No. 7b (for 
gas on the stomach). 

1706 Callibus root is good for indigestion. Boil to make a tea 
or chew the root. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. (Calamus ? ; cf. No. 1705, above.) 

1707 Caraway seed tea is used for stomach trouble. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 125, 127. 

1708 For indigestion, carry a castor bean. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county, and Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort 
county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1246. 

1709 To cure indigestion, chew parched cofifee. 

Anonymous. Cf. New Mexico: Moya, 71 (drink hot, black coffee 
[Spanish]). 

1 710 To cure indigestion, eat parched corn. 

Anonymous. Cf. Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 72 (the stomach may be 
settled by drinking water in which burnt crust of cornbread has been 
soaked). 

171 1 Ginger tea is good for an upset stomach. 

J. Schaffner, and F. C. Brown, Durham. Cf. New York: Smith, Andes, 
297 (two teaspoons of soda and a little ginger in hot water sipped from 
time to time). 

1712 Ginseng root comforts the stomach. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

1 71 3 Mint leaf tea is used for various stomach disorders. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Tennessee: Law, 99; O'Dell, Doctor, 
No. 29 — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 4 (chew spearmint weed) — New 
Mexico: Curtin, 188 (boiling water over dry or green mint leaves, cinna- 
mon, cloves, and nutmeg, strained and taken hot). 

1714 Nutmeg is used for minor stomach ailments. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (in- 
digestion can be cured by boring a hole in a nutmeg and wearing it 



222 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

around the neck [Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1250 (nutmeg 
carried in the pocket is a preventive of stomach troubles) — Ontario: 
Doering-Doering i, 63 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 165 f. (for 
stomach cramp take a nutmeg, add six ounces of honey of roses and two 
ounces of brandy ; boil together, and when the brandy has become 
insipid, take three spoonfuls every morning on an empty stomach). Cf. 
No. 1316, above. 

1 71 5 Eat pine rosin for indigestion. 
Anonymous. 

1 71 6 For stomach ache, drink tea made from ground pumpkin 
seeds. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

1 71 7 Spruce gum is used for stomach troubles. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

1 71 8 Eat a few of the green caps of strawberries, and the ber- 
ries won't make you sick. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county. 

1 719 Chew the bark of sweet gum for indigestion. 
Anonymous. 

1720 Tansy tea is good for the stomach. The tops of the shrub 
are brewed when in blossom. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63 — 
Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 153 (tansy for dyspepsia as a stomachic). 

1 72 1 For indigestion, place two green tobacco leaves forming 
a cross on the abdomen. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 426 — Oklahoma: 
Smith, Animals, 74 (chew tobacco for dyspepsia) ; Smith, Folk Cures, 
83 (same as previous item) — Nebraska: Black, 36, No. 58 (for stomach 
trouble, chew tobacco well; then swallow the tobacco, juice and all); 
Odell, 221, No. 4 (same as previous item). 

1722 For a serious attack of indigestion, cook a handful of 
tuata leaves without water as one would cook spinach. Mix 
the cooked leaves with two eggs and make a sort of omelet which 
the patient is to eat while sipping the juice of the boiled leaves. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 426. 

1723 Eat a pinch of salt to cure indigestion. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1724 Drink salty water to cure indigestion. 
Anonymous. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 223 

1725 Indigestion may be cured by taking a spoonful (pinch) of 
soda in a glass of water. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and two other informants from central 
counties. Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191. (Collectors elsewhere have failed 
to record this common remedy.) 

1726 A solution of bicarbonate of soda mixed with a few grains 
of salt is effective as a stomach sedative. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

1727 Take soda water, made of a glass of water with a table- 
spoonful of vinegar and enough sugar to sweeten it, as a cure 
for indigestion. 

Mamie Afansfield, Durham county, Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5597 (take 
three spoonfuls of apple vinegar thrice daily) — Iowa: Stout, No. 1014 
(three teaspoonfuls of vinegar and the same amount of water, a small 
amount of sugar, and enough soda to make the mixture foam will settle 
one's stomach if the foam only is taken). 

1728 To cure indigestion, drink limestone water, or get lime 
water from the druggist. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. California: Loomis, Medicine, 
121 (prepared chalk is excellent for an acid stomach). 

1729 There is a spring of sulphur water nearby that is claimed 
to cure indigestion. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

1730 Hot ashes and salt will abate stomach pains. 
Anonymous. 

1 73 1 Coarse sand is good for indigestion if eaten. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 427 (sand and charcoal are 
combined for dyspepsia) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 92, No. 42 (before 
breakfast take a spoonful of gravel that is put in a bird's cage, and keep 
doing this for two years) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 332 (dyspepsia). 

1732 The smell of must which comes from under the arm is a 
cure for indigestion. 

Anonymous. 

1733 Bathe in hot water to cure indigestion. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. South: Puckett, 388 (Negro) ; 
ibid., (indigestion may also be cured by drinking hot water). 

1734 Apply cold packs to the stomach to give relief from stom- 
ach ache. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 



224 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1735 Measure your mouth five times with the back of your 
thumb to cure acute indigestion. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

Infection 

1736 If a fishhook pierces the hand, stick it three times into 
wood, in the name of the Trinity, to prevent festering. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Newfoundland: Bergen, Current, No. 817; Knortz, 
55; Patterson, 287. 

1737 After a sphnter is extracted, put it in the hair to prevent 
infection. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1349 (Negro) — Illinois: 
Smith I, 58. Cf, Nos. 1779, 2221 f., below. 

1738 Cow manure is used to prevent infection. 

J. Schaffner. "My grandfather once cut his foot badly ; instead of 
bandaging the part, he secured an old boot, filled it with rank wet dung 
and wore it until he felt the danger of infection was past." Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 73 (German) ; Fogel, No. 1554 (German) — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 104 (to prevent poison) ; Hyatt, No. 4798 (to reduce a 
swelling) ; No. 5252 (as soon as possible after stepping on a nail, put 
the foot in a bucketful of fresh cow manure) — Nebraska: Black, 39, 
No. I (for inflammation) — New Mexico: Hurt, 196 (Spanish) — 

Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191 (reducing inflammation). Radford, 91; 

HDA v, 785. 

1 739 Dried and powdered butterfly root if dusted on a sore will 
stop formation of proud flesh. 

Anonymous. 

1740 Bite oflf dog tail (dog's-tail [Cynosurus cristatus] ) to pre- 
vent infection. It is done this way at Chapel Hill rather than 
by cutting it off. 

Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill, Orange county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4754 (use a poultice of dog fennel for the inflammation in a sore). 

1 74 1 A horse chestnut, carried in the pocket, will prevent infec- 
tious disease. 

F. C. Brown, Durham. 

1742 During the prevalence of contagious diseases, sliced onions 
are exposed in sleeping rooms in the belief that the infectious 
matter would be absorbed, and not affect the occupants. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1716 (onions 
hung at the doorway absorb all disease from anyone entering, but the 
onions must be thrown away) — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 228 (Ger- 
man) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4275 (cut a cross on each of three small 
onions and put them over the transom of the door ; if anyone with a 
contagious disease enters you will be immune) ; No. 4274 (immunize 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 225 

yourself against contagion of any sort by eating onions). Onions placed 
in the room to absorb "flu" germs are reported from Illinois (Hyatt, No. 
4919) and Nebraska (Black, 42, No. 20). Cf. Nos. 2117, 2394, below. 

1743 For infections of various sorts, apply a warm poultice of 
bread and milk. This draws out the pus. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 
197 (German) — Nebraska: Black, 17, No. i — Utah: Baker- Wilcox, 
191 (to reduce inflammation). Foster, 62. 

1744 Burnt alum, put on a sore that has proud flesh in it, will 
remove or kill out the proud flesh. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 
II, 137, No. 36 (for proud flesh make a powder of an old shoe sole and 
alum and sprinkle on the infected part). 

Influenza 

1745 To keep from catching influenza, wear a bag of asafetida 
and sulphur suspended around the neck. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Nebraska: Black, 42, 
No. 21 (burn sulphur right on top of the cookstove to ward oflf in- 
fluenza). The following references involve asafetida tied around the 
neck in a little bag as a general preventive of contagious diseases : Mary- 
land: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1715 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 26 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4264. 

1746 A pinch of sulphur worn in the shoes will prevent in- 
fluenza. 

Jessie Hauser, PfafTtown, Forsyth county, and three other informants 
from central and western counties. South: Duncan, 234, No. 2 — 
Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 13. 

1747 A cure for influenza is to skin off the common field black 
pine into where the white appears and then chip out the soft 
white tissue, and soak in warm water for from three to five 
hours. When the bark has soaked the prescribed amount of time, 
take in small quantities. The tree, however, must be skinned on 
the north side. 

Green Collection. 

1748 For the "flu," mix butter, vinegar, sugar, water, and red 
pepper in a hot solution and drink copiously. The proportion 
of the ingredients seems not to matter. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212. 

Itch 

1749 Cover galloping itch with meal. 

Anonymous. 



226 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1750 Tea from pokeberry root will cure the itch. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. 15 (take a bath in 
water in which pokeroot has been boiled) ; O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 (same 
as foregoing) ; Redfield, No. 105 (bathe in pokeroot ooze) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4647 (wash in tea of pokeroots) — Osarks: Randolph, 109 
(a strong ooze of pokeberry root "will make you think hell aint a mile 
away, but it sure does cure the eetch"). 

1 75 1 For the itch, apply a salve made of equal parts of mustard 
and lard. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212. 

1752 Salt is good for the toe itch. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

1753 '^o cure the itch, bathe in the water of the first rain in 
June. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. 

1754 A yarn string around the toe that has the ground itch will 
cure it. 

Green Collection. Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 8 (to cure itch, wear a yarn 
string around your finger until the itch leaves) ; Thomas, No. 1255 (to 
cure itch in the toe, tie a yarn string around the toe which is affected) 

— Neiu York: Gardner, No. 30 (string Job's-tears on a red woolen 
string and tie around the arm to keep from getting the itch) — Pennsyl- 
vania: Brendle-Unger, 61 (a woolen cord around the ankle [German]) 

— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4652; No. 4653 (to stop an itching toe, tie a 
yarn string around it). 

1755 Tie a piece of silk around the toes as a cure for ground 
itch or cracked feet. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

Jaundice, Green Sickness 

1756 For yellow jaundice, catch nine lice oflf someone's head 
and eat them. 

Anonymous. General: Knortz, 53 (three lice placed in preserved fruit 
for nine days and then eaten with bread) — Labrador: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 783 (three lice taken in jelly nine days running) — Quebec: 
Marie-Ursule, 177, No. 105 (place lice in boiling water and drink as a 
liquid [French]) — Indiana: Knortz, 127 (a louse placed secretly in 
a person's bread) ; Bergen, Animal, No. 784 (swallowing a live head 

louse unbeknownst) — Illinois (same reference as previous item). 

Radford, 155, 162; Udal, 222, 247; Johnson, Normandy, 195; Hovorka- 
Kronfeld i, 146; HDA in, 586; v, 935; Choice Notes, 249. 

1757 Wild cherry bark is good for the jaundice. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 41, 
No. 3 (tea made from peach tree and wild cherry bark) ; Halpert, 
Cures, 3 f. (sarsaparilla roots, red sumac, and bitter root, and bark 
from wild cherry and wild poplar roots cooked together ; this brew 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 227 

is then mixed with hard cider and water, and taken three times daily, a 
half a cup at a time). 

1758 Tea brewed from wild oranges and basil is a cure for 
jaundice. 

F. C. Brown, Durham. 

1759 Cinnamon tea is good for "green sickness." 

J. Schaffner. This disease has not been identified. It may refer to 
morning sickness. 

Kidney Trouble 

1760 Cucklebur (cocklebur) tea is a cure for kidney trouble. 
The tea is made by pouring boiling water over the burrs. 

Mrs. Williams. 

1 76 1 Green coffee tea is a cure for kidney trouble. 
Mrs. Williams. 

1762 Gum bark tea is good for the kidneys. 

Julia McRae. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 179, No. 142 (place boxwood 
bark (Taxus canadensis) in boiling water; add enough sugar to make a 
syrup, and take a spoonful morning and evening [French]). 

1763 Queen of the meadow root is a cure for kidney trouble. 
Wash, parch, and beat up the root. Pour boiling water over 
this and drink. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1764 Dig up the roots or ratsvane (ratsbane) , put them in whis- 
key, and drink for kidney trouble. If you can't get whiskey, 
put it in water and drink. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

1765 Watermelon seed tea is a cure for kidney trouble. The 
tea is made by pouring boiling water over the seed. 

Mrs. Williams. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 188 (an infusion of 
watermelon seeds [German]) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 37, No. i — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4571 — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 75; Smith, 
Folk Cures, 82 — Texas: Guinn, 268 — Utah: Baker-Wilcox, 191. 

1766 Wearing a hoopskirt is good for kidney disease. 
Mrs. R. D. Blacknall, Durham county. 

Lameness 

1767 From the Raft River country comes the statement : "There 
ain't nuthun better to cure lameness than sheep manure in hot 
water, applied externally." 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 212. 



228 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Legs 

1768 Buckeye carried in the right-hand pants pocket will cure 
pains in the legs. 

Anonymous. 

Lice 

iy6g If you wash on New Year's Day, you will be lousy. 

Anonymous. 

1770 If you dream of getting angry, you will be lousy soon. 
Anonymous. 

1 771 If a bat flies over your head after sundown, you will have 
lice. 

Green Collection. 

Liver Trouble 

1772 If you stand on your head, your liver will turn over, and 
you will die from it. 

Miss Fannie Vann, Clinton, Sampson county. For the practice of turn- 
ing people upside down in liver complaints, see No. 319, above. Victims 
of "liver-growth" are often put through contortions of an elaborate sort 
to wrench the liver loose from organs to which it has become attached. 
Cf. No. 319, above. 

1773 Wash alumroot, boil, and take for the liver. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1774 Bloodroot soaked in whiskey is good for liver trouble. 
Anonymous. 

1775 Wild cucumber bark soaked in whiskey is good for liver 
trouble. 

Anonymous. 

1776 Mandrake root tea is a cure for Hver trouble. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1777 Senna leaf tea is a cure for liver trouble. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1778 "A woman told me how to charm for people who are 
liver-bound, warning me never to impart this information to 
anyone of my own sex. In this instance the charmer is to rub 
the infirm person upon the chest with the sign of the cross and 
repeat these words : The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1834 ("Liver grown and heart bound, depart from the ribs as our Lord 



S IT P E R S T I T I N S : BODY, F O I- K MEDICINE 229 

did from the manger. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost." Dip the thunilis in fat, and rub three times upon the 
back, and say the words morning and evening. This must be done at 
I, 3. 5. 7, 9i or II o'clock) ; No. 1836 (Rub the child all over; make the 
sign of the cross on the child's hands, feet, forehead, and breast. Say, 
"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost") ; No. 1835 
(Put your thumbs together and let your fingers touch. Go down the 
child's back with the thumb, separate thumbs, and pass under the ribs, 
saying in Dutch : "You go away from the child's ribs." Do this three 
times for nine mornings, and tlie liver growth will be cured) ; No. 1873 
(At sunrise, shake a baby three times for three days and you will cure 
it of liver growth. "Words" are said to this) — Ontario: Doering, Folk 
Medic me, 196 (German). 

Lockjaw 

1779 To prevent lockjaw, when a splinter or other object sticks 
into the body, pull it out and put it into the hair, wear it for a 
day, and the wound will get well soon. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1349 (after 
you have extracted a splinter from your flesh, there will be no pain if 
you put the splinter in your hair) — Illinois: Smith i, 58 (if you have 
a splinter or briar in your finger, rub your finger in your hair and the 
place won't get sore). Cf. No. 1737, above, Nos. 2221 f., below. 

1780 If a needle is stuck in the foot, put fat meat next the place 
and a penny over that. 

Green Collection. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 7Z (to prevent 
swelling in the case of a wound caused by a nail, a penny is tied on) — 
Osarks: Randolph, loi (the "green moss" on the copper of a penny will 
draw the poison from a festering nail wound and prevent tetanus). 

1 781 If you stick a nail in your foot and then grease the nail, 
it will take all the soreness out of your foot. 

Anonymous. North Carolina: Brown Collection i, 640 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 73 (if the instrument or nail that caused the wound was 
rusty or became rusty soon after the accident, the wounded person was in 
danger of getting lockjaw; accordingly, the instrument was to be kept 
free from rust [German]) — Illinois: Allison, No. 135; No. 160 (carry 
the greased nail in your pocket) ; Hyatt, No. 5261 — Osarks: Randolph, 
158 (find the nail, dry it, wash it in kerosene and put it away in a dry 
place. "If the nail rusts, the wound will fester"). Cf. No. 1403, above. 

Radford, 97 ; Black, Folk-Medicine, 55 (grease the knife with which 

one has been cut). 

1782 For a rusty nail wound, grease the nail and put it in the 
crack of a house. 

Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county, and the Green Col- 
lection. North Carolina: Green Collection ("Blanche Atwater, a school 
teacher, said when she was a child of eight, she stuck two nails in her 
foot. Her mother was away, and her Negro mammy doctored her. 
She put a dough poultice on her foot, and then she got the two nails 
and greased them, and stuck them between the cracks under the weather- 
boarding on the outside of the house. She greased them every day for 
five days, saying this would prevent lockjaw — which it did"). 



230 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1783 If you stick a nail in your foot or hand, take the nail and 
grease it, and put it over the door, and let it stay, the foot or 
hand will never be sore. 

Julian P. Boyd, and the Green Collection. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1271 (if a nail is stuck into the foot, do not drive the nail high into a 
door or wall because the swelling in the foot will then rise) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5254 (grease the nail and put it on a high shelf) ; No. 5256 
(place the greased nail higher than your head near the door to avoid in- 
fection). Cf. No. 1403, above. 

1784 If you stick a nail in your foot, grease the nail and put it 
up (throw it upstairs), and the foot will get well. 

Julian P. Boyd, and Esther F. Royster, Henderson, Vance county. 

1785 A man who stuck a nail in his foot was told by a neighbor 
to pull it out, grease it, and hang it up in the "chimbly" ; other- 
wise he might have lockjaw. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). New Brimszvick: Bergen, Current, No. 819 — 
Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1577. 

1786 To prevent lockjaw, remove the nail from the foot, grease 
the nail with tallow, and drive it into a board or other wooden 
object where it will remain dry. As long as the nail remains 
dry lockjaw will never occur. 

J. K. Turner, Rocky Mount, Edgecomb county, and Mamie Mansfield, 
Durham county. Cf. Kentucky: Eowler, No. 1273a (take the rusty nail 
out of your foot, drive it into a board, and put a fat piece of meat on it ; 
you need do nothing about the wound). This last statement bears out 
eloquently the principle of transference, whereby the careful attention 
given to the ofifending instrument is magically transferred to the wound 
itself. Eor a general discussion of the matter at hand, see Black, Folk- 
Medicine, 55. 

1787 If you scratch yourself with a rusty nail, stick the nail 
immediately into hard wood, and it will prevent lockjaw. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Puckett, 277 (drive the nail into the north 
side of a tree [Negro]) — Tennessee: Rogers, 57 (drive the nail into a 
post) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 818 — New York: 
Relihan, Remedies, 166. 

1788 Malindy, dis here while done put her foot 

Down on a nail, right square ! 
Now what I gwine ter do ? 

I tell you what I done las' year 

When dat dar boy ob yaller 
Done bus' his foot in two. 

I tuck de nail dar 
And gruze it might well 

Wid mutton taller 



superstitions: body, folk micdicine 231 

And put in 'nunder de door sell 

Whilst de rust worked offen dat nail 
Dat nigger's foot done got plum well ! 

Green Collection. 

1789 To cure a wound made by a nail, remove the nail, grease 
it, and then throw it in a fire. 

Ethel Brown, Catawba county. Cf. IHinois: Hyatt, No. 5251 (pull out 
the nail and burn it up immediately, and you will not have blood poison- 
ing) — Texas: Woodhull, 60 (the nail is greased and then put in the 
fire) ; ibid., (hot ashes) — Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 42 (nail greased 
and thrown into fire to keep the foot from getting sore) ; No. 47 (hold 
foot in hot ashes). Cf. No. 905, above, Nos. 1795, 2756, below. 

1790 When you have stuck a nail in your foot, take the nail, 
grease it, and put it in a dark place where it cannot get wet. 

Dorothy M. Vann, Raleigh. Cf. South: Puckett, 376 (the rusty nail is 
greased and set away [Negro]) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1573 
(after you have cut yourself with an ax, cover it with grease and lay it 
under the bed) ; No. 1574 (grease ax with lard and keep in a dry place) 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5257 (grease the nail and drive it into the 
ground) ; No. 5258 (bury the nail in the ground) ; No. 5260 (if the nail 
is hidden where it cannot be found, the nail wound will not become sore). 

1 791 Apply collard leaves for a nail in the foot. 
Green Collection. 

1792 For a nail in the foot, apply Jimson leaves. 
Green Collection. 

1793 Apply poke leaves for a nail in the foot. 
Green Collection. 

1794 For lockjaw, give a tablespoonful of strong pepper vine- 
gar. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. 

1795 Keep a supply of clean woolen rags. Make a smudge of 
the rag and hold the cut over the smudge to prevent lockjaw. 

Green Collection. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1887 (burn 
feathers in the room) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 433 (if a person has 
stuck a rusty nail in his foot, build a fire and when the smoke begins 
to grow clear hold a joint of cane reed with one end over the fire so as 
to catch the smoke, and the other end just under the wound; in this 
way smoke the wound and the person will not have lockjaw) — Missis- 
sippi: Hudson, 154 (the wound made by a nail should be held over 
burning wool ; then the nail should be greased and thrown on the roof of 
the house) — Texas: Lewis, 267 (place brown sugar on a shovel of coals, 
smoke the wound well with this, and then apply a poultice of turpentine 
and brown sugar) — California: Loomis, Medicine, 121 (for lockjaw 



232 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

blow the smoke of three successive pipes of tobacco through the stem 
of the pipes into the wound; this will set the wound discharging). Cf. 
Nos. 905, 1789, above. 

Lungs 

1796 A paste of ground charcoal mixed with homemade yeast 
is made into a poultice for abscessed lungs. 

Anonymous. 

Malaria 

ly^y When an owl hoots for three nights near your house, you 
are going to have malaria. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

1798 To cure malaria, put a toad under a pot and walk around 
the pot three times. 

Anonymous. 

1799 Dogwood bark, boiled and made into a tea, is good for 
malaria. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1800 Drink willow bark with alcohol to cure malaria. 
Anonymous. 

Measles 

1801 A person who looks out of the window while he has 
measles will go blind. 

Anonymous. 

1802 To keep from catching the measles, wear a bag of asa- 
f etida and sulphur suspended around the neck. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5172 (asaf etida only). 

1803 "Now fer to bring out the measles when they have went 
in on your child, you jest give it a tea made out of chicken 
manure. It sure brings out the measles." 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5178 (tea made from 
the white part of chicken dung) — Idaho: Lore, 213. 

1804 To cure measles kill a black hen; after cooking, skim the 
grease off of the pot and rub it on the body. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

1805 Goat dung made into a tea will cause measles to break 
out. Gargle the throat and drink. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 1809, below. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 233 

1806 Drink nanny-goat tea to cure the measles. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 1809, below. 

1807 Negroes prescribe mare's milk for measles. 
Green Collection. Pennsylvania: Hoffman 11, 29 (German). 

1808 To make people break out with the measles, make rabbit 
pill teas. 

Cozette Coble, Stanly county. 

1809 As an aid in the cure of measles, drink the broth made 
from the excreta of sheep. The excreta are tied in a rag and 
boiled in a small quantity of water. If used while quite warm, 
the tea causes the measles to break out. 

Green Collection, J. Schaffner, and four other informants from central 
and western counties. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 801 — South: 
Duncan, 234, No. 4 (nannie tea) — North Carolina: Bruton, Medicine, 
No. 26 (sheep ball tea) — Virginia: Martin, No. 11 — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1265 (sheep-nanny tea) — Tennessee: Law, 99; Redfield, 
No. 106 — Georgia: Campbell, 2 (to break out measles, use tea of sheep 
tatlings and corn shucks) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 93, No. 52 — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 144; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 13 — 
Neiv York: Gardner, No. 33 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 90 (Ger- 
man) ; Fogel, No. 1412 (German) ; Grumbine, 281 ; Hoffman 11, 29 (tea 
made of sheep cherries [German]) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 37; 
Brewster, Specimens, 364; Halpert, Cures, 9 — Illinois: Allison, No. 
105; Smith I, 58 (sheep's pills) ; Wheeler, 66 — 0::arks: Randolph, 107 
— Texas: Woodhull, 57 — Nebraska: Black, 40, No. 11 — California: 

Bushnell, No. 12. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 699 ; Black, Folk-Medicine, 

157- 

1810 To break out the measles, give catnip tea. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. New York: 
Relihan, Remedies, 166 (catnip gathered at midnight before St. Swithin's 
Day will cure measles). 

181 1 For measles, use corn shuck tea. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 387 (Negro) — 
Georgia: Campbell, 2 (to break out measles use tea of sheep tatlings and 
corn shucks). 

1 81 2 Drink elderberry tea hot to cure the measles. 

Anonymous. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 97; Lick-Brendle, 266 (a 
tea of the flowers of American elder is used as a diaphoretic to "bring 
out the measles"). 

1 81 3 Elder blossom tea will hasten the eruption of measles. 

Anonymous. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 90; Grumbine, 281; Hoff- 
man II, 29 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5177 (hot tea from elder blossoms will 
make measles break out and check the fever). 



234 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1814 To break out the measles, give flaxseed tea. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1 81 5 Take ginger tea to break out the measles. 

Rosa Efird, Stanly county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 22. 

1816 For measles, use holly leaf tea. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 387 (Negro). 

1 81 7 Pennyroyal tea is used to make measles break out. 
Green Collection. 

1 81 8 Tea made from black pepper is good for those who have 
the measles. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. No. 1821, below. 

1819 Take sassafras tea. This is used to cure the measles. 
Anonymous. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 9. 

1820 Tea made from the bark of a spicewood tree will make 
the measles break out quickly. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Minnie Stamps Gosney, 
Raleigh. Osarks: Randolph, 107 (spicewood tea, made by boiling the 
tender green twigs of the spicewood or feverbush [Benzoin aestivale] is 
a famous remedy for measles). 

1 82 1 Tea made from red pepper is good for those who have 
measles. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. West Virginia: Musick, 
7, No. 28 (red pepper tea, applied to the body hot) — Tennessee: Redfield, 
No. 107. Cf. No. 1818, above. 

1822 Use warm water for measles. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 387 (Negro) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5175 (if you attempt to bring out measles and start 
by using hot drinks, they must be continued). Cf. No. 5174, where same 
instructions are given for cold drinks. 

1823 To cure the measles, drink ice-cold water. 
Anonymous. 

Month 

1824 For sore mouth, bake an egg in a corn pone for an hour. 
Mix the yolk with a tablespoonful of honey, a tablespoonful of 
hen's oil, ten drops of turpentine, a tablespoonful of sulphur, 
and half a teaspoonful of alum or borax. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. West Virginia: 
Musick, 8, No. 37 (take honey, alum, and brimstone, the same quantity, 
and a little pepper, stew them all together in an egg shell (goose egg 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 235 

is the best because it is stronger and holds more), minding always to 
stir the whole time with a piece of wood, for nothing else will do as well ; 
anoint your [sore] mouth with this a few times through the day) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Ungcr, 112 (take a chicken egg, honey, and 
alum, of each the size of a walnut ; heat, stir, and then use to smear) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4784 (to make a wash for sore mouth, boil peach 
bark, honey, and alum together). 

1825 Burn holly leaves and take the ashes left and put them on 
the little white sores that sometimes come in the mouth, and 
they will get well, 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

1826 Sasfrarilla (sarsaparilla) root will cure sore mouth if 
chewed or made into a tea. 

Alamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

Mumps 

i82y To cure mumps, rub the swollen parts against a bone of 
some animal. 

Louise Lucas, White Oak, Bladen county. Cf. Nezv York: Relihan, 
Folk Cures, 166 (take a donkey's harness and slip it over the head and 
shoulders of the person who is sick and tie it on ; at the end of the three 
days the person will be cured [Irish]) — Nebraska: Black, 38, No. 
107 (take the tonsils from a squirrel and bind one tonsil under each jaw 

where the mumps are). Laval, 23, No. 7 (the spleen of a lamb). See 

Nos. 1828 ff. for the use of grease from the jowl and other parts of a 
hog. From virtually all parts of the country there has been reported 
the practice of rubbing the swollen part of the neck to the hog trough, 
particularly to the part of the trough worn smooth by the rubbing of the 
hog's jowls against it. The precise sympathetic connection is not obvious, 
unless it is perhaps an application of the notion of contraria contrariis, 
with the huge jowls of the hog being used to effect removal of mumps 
and the return to the slim shape of the neck. 

1828 To cure mumps, take a jawbone of a hog, cook it, get the 
marrow out, and rub the jaw. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county, and three other informants 
from central counties. South: Puckett, 387 (Negro) ; 373 (oil from 
a hog's jowl) — Tennessee: Rogers, 26 (hog jaws were regularly kept 
in the family smokehouse for ready use) — Pennsylvania: Shoemaker, 
20 — Ozarks: Randolph, 155 f. (the adult male Ozarker is afraid of 
mumps, because he fears that the disease may "go down" on him and 
damage his testicles ; some men think they can prevent this calamity by 
smearing the parts with marrow from a hog's jaw). Taboada, 51. 

1829 The marrow out of the left-hand jawbone of a male hog 
is heated and rubbed on the mumps as a cure. 

Green Collection. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 137 (the swelling 
was smeared with fat out of the chine of a pig [German]) ; Shoemaker, 
278 (same as previous item) — Ozarks: Randolph, Ozark, 155 (smear 
"the parts" with marrow from a hog's jaw to prevent "going down"). 



236 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1830 For mumps, put a bowl of bread crumbs in a pan of warm 
milk, and then make a poultice of the mixture between cotton 
towels and apply to the face. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 213. 

1831 To cure mumps, rub the grease of the jawbone of a hog 
on the swollen glands, and make a cross mark on it with a piece 
of charcoal. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). Cf. South: Duncan, 234 (bind hog dung on 
jaws when mumps go down) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 137 (hog 
excrement tied to the swollen gland of adults [German]). 

1832 It is commonly believed that a silk string around the neck 
will keep the mumps from going down. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1268 — Maine: Knortz, 
51 (a piece of hemp rope is tied around one's waist so the disease will 
not spread to the nether parts ; these ropes could be purchased in small 
stores and shops) — New York: Crandall, 180 (a red string around the 
neck, which mumps can not cross) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5297 (to 
prevent mumps from "going down" or "falling on" a person, tie a string 
around the patient's waist) — Osarks: Randolph, Ozark, 156 (soak 
a woolen string with hog manure and tie around neck) — Idaho: Lore, 
213. 

1833 To cure mumps, let a girl who has never seen her father 
rub the face of the person that has the mumps. 

Dorothy Vann, Raleigh. 

Muscular Condition 

1834 Goose grease, applied externally, will make you supple. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

1835 Skunk oil is good for certain muscular troubles. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63 — 
Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 32, No. 2 (fish worms placed in a bottle and 
melted into an oil by the sun). 

Nausea 

1836 A dishrag put on the throat is good for nausea. 
Green Collection. 

1837 A red string tied about the waist cures nausea. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 815. 

Neck Pains, Wryneck 

1838 To cure a pain in the neck, rub your neck where a hog 
has been scratching his back. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Texas: Lewis, 267. Cf. Bergen, 
Animal, No. 827 (marrow from the jawbone of a hog stewed in vinegar 
and put on the throat will cure stiff neck). Cf. Nos. 1839 f., below. 



superstitions: i;ouy, folk mkuicine 237 

1839 To remove a crick in the neck, get down on your hands 
and knees and rub where hogs have been rubbing. 

Charles R. Bagley, Moyock, Currituck county, and Carl W. Knox, 
Leland, Brunswick county. North Carolina: Bruton, Beliefs, No. 23 
(to ease a crick, rub your neck where a hog has rubbed) — Mississippi: 
Hudson, 151. 

1840 To cure a crick in your neck, go and rub your neck against 
a tree where a hog has rubbed. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1 164 — Mississippi: Hudson, 151, No. I — New York: Relihan, 
Remedies, 166 f. — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4792. 

1 841 For a crick in the neck, tie a tender green peach tree twig 
with the bark skinned off around your neck. Wear this all 
night, and in the morning the crick will be gone. 

Nancy Maxwell, Hazelwood, Haywood county. 

1842 To cure a crick in the neck, wear a pothook (pot buck) 
about the neck. 

Cozette Coble, Stanly county, and Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick 
county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1168. 

1843 Tobacco smoke puffed into the ear until the head is plumb 
chock full, then stopped up in there with red woolen rags is a 
speedy relief from pains in the neck. 

Mrs. R. D. Blacknall, Durham county. 

1844 To cure a pain in the neck, bathe in warm water, 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1 845 Tie brown paper wet with vinegar to the back of the neck 
to cure a pain in the neck. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

Nervousness 

1846 If you look at anything die, you will always be nervous. 
Anonymous. 

1847 For nervousness, take lady-slipper tea. 

Anonymous. New Hampshire, Vermont, New York: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 1326 — Massachusetts: Bergen, Animal, No. 1327 (the large lady's 
slipper is often called "nerve-root" on account of its use as a nerve 
tonic) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5459 — Osarks: Randolph, 114. 

1848 Bathe a child in water in which the mistletoe flowers have 
been boiled to cure nervousness. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 



238 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Neuralgia 

1849 For neuralgia, bind a collard leaf with the back side next 
to the jaw and let it stay until the leaf becomes soft. Apply 
new leaves until the pain is gone. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1850 Boil mullein and put your face over the pan to cure 
neuralgia. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1 85 1 Pour boiling water over pine tops, and hold the head over 
the pan to cure neuralgia. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1852 Irish potatoes carried in one's pocket will prevent neu- 
ralgia. 

Green Collection. 

1853 Red shand weed tea draws out the pain and gives relief to 
neuralgia sufferers. 

Julia McRae. 

1854 Bore a hole through a ("he") nutmeg and string it around 
your neck, and this will cure neuralgia. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county, and six other informants from 
eastern and central counties. The Durham Herald-Sun for Oct. 22, 
1939 reported the piercing of a "he" nutmeg, and the wearing of the 
nutmeg on a string around the neck as a cure for neuralgia. Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5309 (a nutmeg attached to a red string and worn about the 
neck) — Arkansas: Randolph, 152 (worn around the neck on a black 
shoestring) — Washington: Tacoma, 8. Cf. No. 1855, below. 

1855 For neuralgia, tie a nutmeg around the neck, and allow it 
to hang below the fork of the breast. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. South: Puckett, 389 (Negro) 
— Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1279 — Tennessee: Rogers, 31 — Maine: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 1140 — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 5 (drill a tiny 
hole in the shell of a live nutmeg and tie the nutmeg so that it will lie 
in the hollow of your neck) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5308 — Ozarks: 
Randolph, Ozark, 3. 

1856 For neuralgia, make a poultice of fresh red oak bark be- 
tween the outer rind and the tree, boil, and mix with corn meal. 

Green Collection. 

1857 For neuralgia, soak a woolen rag in vinegar, heat a flat- 
iron enough to cause a vapor, place the rag over the affected 
part and apply the iron to the rag. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 213. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 239 

1858 Heat a brick and wrap it in a damp cloth; the sweat 
caused from this will ease the person. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1859 People wear a copper wire around their neck for neu- 
ralgia. 

G. W. H. Britt (Kentucky). 

Nosebleed 

i860 If you press the arteries behind the ear, it will stop the 
nose from bleeding. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5504 (pressing 
under both ears simultaneously will stop nosebleed) — Iowa: Stout, 
No. 1029 (press the nerves under your ears). 

1 86 1 Pull out hairs from under the arms of the one whose nose 
bleeds. Take an uneven number, such as three, five, seven, or 
nine, and hold them in the nose of the patient. The bleeding 
will stop at once. 

Anonymous, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 1749 (twist a bunch of hair on the crown of your head for nose- 
bleed) — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 66 (pull the hair on top of the head). 

1862 Take a fresh &gg, open it at the large end, empty it, fill 
the shell half full of blood from the nose, and place it in hot 
ashes. As soon as the blood becomes hot and hard, the nose will 
stop bleeding. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 43 (let three drops of 
blood fall on a heated fire shovel, and then remove them ; this should be 
done three times). Fogel, No. 1420 (same as previous item). 

1863 Nosebleed is cured by drawing a horse hair tightly across 
the bridge of the nose. 

Green Collection. 

1864 Wear red corn around your neck to stop the nosebleed. 

Julian P. Boyd, and Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. South Carolina: 
Bryant 11, 138, No. 45 — West Virginia: Musick, 5, No. 9b (a grain of 
corn placed under the tongue) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1087; No. 
1088 (plain corn) — Illinois: Allison, No. 157 (a necklace of red corn 
kernels) ; Hyatt, No. 5494. 

1865 An effective cure for nosebleed is to burn cork, grind it, 
and put it in the nose. 

Anonymous. 

1866 PufTball fungus is used to stop nosebleeding. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 



240 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1867 Snuff the smoke of a puff ball to cure nosebleeding, 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1868 Snuff up ragweed tea to stop the nosebleed. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1869 Plug the nose with ragweed to stop it from bleeding. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1870 For nosebleed, sprinkle sugar on the ears. 
Constance Patten, Greensboro. 

1 87 1 A small piece of wet folded paper under the upper lip will 
stop the nose from bleeding. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, and seven other informants from widely 
separated localities. General: Bergen, Current, No. 858 — ■ South: 
Puckett, 376 (plain white paper [Negro]) — South Carolina: Bryant 
II, 138, No. 44 — West Virginia: Musick, 5, No. gc — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1091 (a piece of silk paper) ; No. 1092 (a piece of stiff 
cardboard between the front teeth) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 16, No. 12; 
No. 21 (tie brown paper around your forehead) ; No. 2 (hold paper to 
the back of your head) ; No. 23 (place wet brown paper to the back of 
the neck) ; Redfield, No. 60; No. 65 (roll a cigarette and put it in the 
upper lip) ; Rogers, 31 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 373 — Mississippi: 
Hudson, 152, No. 9; No. 3 (put a piece of paper in the roof of the mouth) 
— Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 180, No. 167 (French) — Noi'a Scotia: 
Creighton, 94, No. 57 (brown paper) — A^'^c; England: Johnson, Super- 
stitions, 164 f. (a piece of paper under the tongue) — Nciv York: 
Gardner, No. 34 (brown paper in the roof of the mouth) — Indiana: 
Halpert, Cures, 8 (brown paper placed against the nose) — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 109; Hyatt, No. 5524; No. 5529 (drop brown paper down 
your back for nosebleed) ; No. 5530 (tear one of the corners from a 
paper sack, fold, put under upper lip, etc.) ; No. 5531 (a piece of writ- 
ing paper) ; No. 5547 (stiff cardboard pressed between the teeth) — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 1059 — Osarks: Randolph, 145 — Texas: Woodhull, 
61 (brown cigarette paper in the roof of the mouth) — Nebraska: Black, 
31, No. 25 (brown paper) ; No. 39 (put a brown cigarette paper in 
the roof of the mouth) ; No. 24 (cardboard) — Nezv Mexico: Baylor, 
149, No. 2c (brown cigarette paper). Cf. Nos. 1897, 1903 ff., 1905, below. 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 469 (blotting paper under the tongue). 

1872 To stop the bleeding of the nose, fold a piece of brown 
paper into a narrow strip one inch wide and several folds thick ; 
soak the paper in vinegar and place it inside the mouth between 
the upper lip and the teeth. Leave it there for a short time, 
and the bleeding will cease. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Indiana: Brewster, 
Cures, 34, No. 5 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5528 — Osarks: Randolph, 
Ozark, 145. 

1873 If you chew a wad of paper it will stop the nose from 
bleeding. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachu- 
setts: Bergen, Current, No. 855 (chew brown paper) — Pennsylvania: 



S r P F. « S T I T I N S : I? I) Y , FOLK MEDICINE 24I 

Brendlc-Unger, 41 (chew a piece of paper and put the wad between 
the upper lip and the gum [German]); Fogel, No. 1586 (chew news- 
paper) ; No. 1587 (chew paper and place the wad under the upper lip 
[German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5525 (chew brown paper) ; No. 5526 
(chew brown wrapping paper and place the wad under the upper lip) ; 
No. 5527 (biting on a piece of paper held between your teeth) ; No. 5548 
(hold a folded napkin or some solid substance between your teeth, 
bite it hard, and at the same time clench your hands tightly) — Idaho: 
Lore, 213. 

1874 Wear a blue cotton string around the neck for bleeding 
at the nose. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 
42 (red string) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1585 (red string) — 
Illinois: Norlin, 206, No. 34 (red string) — Iowa: Stout, No. 986 (red 
string) — Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 31 (red string) — Kansas: Daven- 
port, 132 (red string) — New Mexico: Baylor, 149, No. 2a (red string) 
— California: Dresslar, 113 (red string). Cf. No. 1881, below. 

1875 For nosebleed, wear red yarn around the neck. 

Green Collection. New England: Johnson, What They Say, 81 (red 
woolen yarn) — Nezv York: Gardner, No. 37 (red woolen string) — 
Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 8 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5545 (wear a piece 
of red yarn or string around the neck and let it remain there for three 
days) ; No. 5551 (woolen string round the neck and a cold cloth on the 
head) ; Norlin, 206, No. 38 (silk thread) — loiva: Stout, No. 1049 (red 
yarn string [informants are early Iowa pioneers]) — California: Dres- 
slar, 113 (red yarn string) — Washington: Tacoma, 20 (red woolen 

yarn). Cf. No. 1881, below. Black, Folk-Medicine, iii (skein of 

scarlet silk thread). 

1876 For nosebleed, wear a red bean on a white string around 
the neck. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 55 — Massachusetts: Bergen, 
Current, No. 802. 

1877 To wear black ribbon about the neck will prevent the nose- 
bleed. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Maryland: Whitney- Bullock, No. 1850 
(black silk thread) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 304. 

1878 Beads are worn around the neck to keep off nosebleeding. 

Green Collection. Cf. Texas: Woodhull, 61 (a blue bead on a thread) — 
Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 27 (same as previous item). 

1879 Red beads about the neck cure nosebleed. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Tennessee: Redfield, No. 62 — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 375 (wear coral to cure nosebleed) — New York: Bergen, Current, 
No. 801 ; Knortz, 55 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5493 — Arkansas: Randolph, 
154 (red glass beads) : Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 161 — Rio 
Grande: Berdau, 383 (coral necklace; the coral beads must have been 
put on the string on a night of full moon [Spanish]) ; Bourke, 137 — 
Kansas: Davenport, 132; gold beads also mentioned (ibid.) — Nebraska: 
Black, 30, No. 23 (red necklace). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 8. 



242 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1880 The nosebleed is stopped by wearing a string of blood- 
stone beads around the neck. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 1879, above. 

1881 As a cure for nosebleed, tie a string about the little finger. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 55 — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1854 (a string around each wrist) — Kentucky: Price, 
33 (a yarn string around the little left finger) ; Thomas, No. 1089 (same 
as previous item) ; No. 1086 (a red yarn string around the thumb) — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 376 (wear string around the little finger, and 
lift the hand if the nose begins to bleed) ; No. 377 (tie a string around 
the little finger of the hand on the side which is bleeding, and hold that 
hand up in the air) — Cape Breton: Bergen, Current, No. 813 — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, German i, 47 (tie a string or red yarn around one 
of your fingers) ; German 11, 86 (same as previous item) — New 
England: Johnson, What They Say, 80 (if the right nostril bleeds, tie 
a cord around the right little finger; left nostril, the left little finger) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 42 (a woolen string around the finger; or 
winding a strand around the little finger between the nail and the first 
joint on the side of the bleeding nostril has often brought a quick end 
to the strongest nosebleed [AUentown calendar of 1828]) ; Fogel, No. 
1584 (a woolen string about the little finger [German]) ; Grumbine, 281 
(a red woolen yarn around each finger) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 8 
(index finger) — Illinois: Allison, No. 156; Hyatt, No. 5541 (a yarn 
string around the left little finger) ; No. 5539 (same as previous item, 
except plain string) ; No. 5540 (yarn string around one of the little 
fingers) ; No. 5542 (wrap a piece of red yarn on the thumb) ; No. 5543 
(if your right nostril is bleeding, tie a string around your right arm 
above the elbow) ; No. 5544 (left nostril, above left elbow, as in previous 
item) — Texas: Turner, 167 (a piece of woolen string around the big 
toe) ; Woodhull, 61 (a wool thread around the big toe) — Nebraska: 
Black, 30, No. 22 (same as previous item) — California: Dresslar, 113. 

HDA VI, 796; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 7, 469; Storaker, Sygdom, 

No. 109. 

1882 Snifif salt water up the nose to cure the nosebleed. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 68 
(eat salt) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 41 (snuff cold water). 

1883 Snuff up alum water to stop the nose from bleeding. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1884 To Stop bleeding at the nose, put cold water on top of 
your head. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and the Green Collec- 
tion. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1081 (pour water on back of the 
head) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 16, No. i (back of the head) ; No. 3 
(wash the face in cold water) ; No. 6 (wet the temple with water) ; Red- 
field, No. 59 (wet the back of your head with cold water) ; No. 67 (back 

of the head). HDA vi, 973; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 7 (cold water put 

into the nose). 

1885 Use something cold on the back of the neck to stop the 
nosebleed. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No._ 40 
(cold rags to the nose and back of the neck) — West Virginia: Musick, 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 243 

5, No. gd (a cold, wet rock put down the back of the victim's neck) — 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 16, No. 4 (hold a wet cloth to the face) ; No. 13 
(wet towel) ; Redfield, No. 69 (wet cloth on forehead) ; No. 70 (cold, 
wet towel) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5550 (wet or cold rag) — Nebraska: 
Black, 31, No. 28 (cold, wet cloth) ; No. 32 (a cold coin) ; No. 34 
(put a wet cloth to the nostrils to clot the blood). Cf. No. 1884, 
above; Nos. 1886 f{., 1893, 1896, below. 

1886 A wet cloth applied to the back of the head is a remedy 
for nosebleed. 

Green Collection, and Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Nezv 
Mexico: Baylor, 149, No. 2d (wet the back of your neck [Spanish]). 

1887 To cure the nosebleed, bathe the back of the head and 
neck in cold water. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 71 (wash 
the face in cold water). 

1888 Pour water down the back of the neck to stop nosebleed. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 (hold the hands 
high over the head, and have someone wet the back of your neck with 
cold water) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 41 (German) ; Fogel, No. 
1588 (German) ; No. 1589 (dash cold water onto the nape of the neck 
[German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5549. 

1889 If you lay ice on the wrist it will stop the nose from 
bleeding-. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 16, No. 
19 (hold ice to the head) — New York: Gardner, No. 36 (snow applied 
to the back of the neck) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 8 (a piece of ice 
down the neck) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5509 (ice on the back of the 
neck) — Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 36 (ice on the forehead). 

1890 Put the feet into cold water to cure the nosebleed. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
42 (footbath in lukewarm water, with cold bandages of vinegar and salt 
over the brow and temples [German]) — Indiana: Halpert, Ctires, 8 
(place the hands in cold water). 

1 891 To stop the nose from bleeding, turn an old brick over, 
let eleven drops of blood fall in the place where the brick was 
lying. Then place the brick back over the eleven drops of blood. 
The nose will cease to bleed when this is done. 

J. K. Turner, Rocky Mount, Edgecomb county, and Mamie Mansfield, 
Durham county. Cf. IVest Virginia: Musick, 5, No. 9a (let nine drops 
of blood fall under a rock, and replace the rock) — Tennessee: Farr, 
Riddles, No. 5 (pick up a stone and let three drops of blood fall on the 
stone; then replace the stone in the original position) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1493 (al)out the same as the previous item [German]) — 
Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 34, No. 2 (let three drops of blood fall on a 
stone or brick, then turn it over and replace carefully) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5532 (go where you cannot be seen and let your nose bleed 
on a white rock ; then turn the rock over and depart, and your nose will 
cease bleeding). 



244 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1892 When the nose is bleeding, take a drop of the blood and 
place it in a bottle, close the bottle tightly and bury it with the 
neck of the bottle downward, and the blood will cease to flow. 

Green Collection. 

1893 A cure for the bleeding of the nose is to place cold steel 
on the back next to the skin. 

J. K. Turner, Rocky Mount, Edgecomb county, and Mamie Mansfield, 

Durham county. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 7 (iron). Cf. No. 1885, above; 

and No. 1896, below. 

1894 To prevent bleeding at the nose, cut a heartshaped plate 
from a sheet of lead and wear it around the neck, suspended by 
a flax cord. 

Maybelle Poovey, High Point, Guilford county. South: Puckett, 376 (a 
Minie-ball beaten flat and shaped into a heart, if perforated and worn 
around the neck, will charm effectively against nosebleed [Negro]). Un- 
less otherwise specified, all references cited below deal with lead hung 
around the neck: Kentucky: Stuart, 9 (wear lead around your neck and 
your nose won't bleed) ; Thomas, No. 1082 (wear lead which has not 
been on the ground) ; No. 1083 (wear lead around your neck and put 
it on your shoulder when the nose begins to bleed) — Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 16, No. 8 ; Redfield, No. 61 ; Rogers, 31 — Mississippi: 
Hudson, 152, No. 5; No. 2 (with the tongue hold a small piece of lead 
in the roof of the mouth) — Illinois: Allison, No. 124; Hyatt, No. 
5519; No. 5518 (wear a piece of lead that has never touched the 
ground) ; Smith 11, 69, No. 13. 

1895 Tie a bullet that a hog has been shot with around your 
neck, and your nose will stop bleeding. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 1084 (a bullet that has killed something) — Indiana: Brewster, 
Cures, 34, No. 3 (necklace of flattened lead bullets) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5516 (a necklace of lead bullets or shot) ; No. 5517 (a bullet 
with which something has been killed) — Texas: Woodhull, 19 (take 
a lead bullet, mash flat around a string and suspend from the neck) ; 
60 (a lead bullet from a pistol, hammered flat, wound around a cord, and 
worn around the neck) — Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 29. Cf. No. 1894, 
above. 

1896 Anything cold — key, knife (blade), etc., — applied at the 
base of the neck, will cure the nosebleed. 

Edward Dreyer (Louisiana). North Carolina: Folk-Lore xlix (1938), 
167 (knife) — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 64 (a knife down your collar) 

— Indiana: Busse, 15, No. 17 (a knife blade pressed flat side down on 
the back of the neck) — Illinois: Allison, No. 76 (knife) ; Wheeler, 
65 (knife blade) — Texas: Woodhull, 61 (butcher knife down the back) 

— Nebraska: Black, 30, No. 19 (butcher knife) — New Mexico: 
Espinosa, 410 (a wet key pressed against the forehead). Cf. Nos. 1885, 
1893, above; 1897 ff., 1901, below. 

1897 Place a key on the inside of the upper lip to stop the nose 
from bleeding. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Nos. 1871 ff., above. 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 245 

1898 A key worn hanging about the neck by a string prevents 
nosebleed. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1889 (back of 
the neck) — Tennessee: Rogers, 31 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 270 (back 
of the neck) — Nezv England: Johnson, What They Say, 165 (back of 
the neck) — Maine: Hergen, Current, No. 804 — Indiana: Brewster, 
Cures, 34, No. 4 (back of the neck) ; Busse, 15, No. 9; Halpert, Cures, 
8 (a cold key down the neck) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5512 (a key on a 
green string) ; No. 5513 (put the end of a key in your nose and then 
take it out and tie the key around your neck next to your skin, and it 
will not only stop the nosebleed, but you will not have the nosebleed as 
long as the key is around your neck) — lozva: Stout, No. 1060 (a door 
key on the back of the neck [Norwegian]) — Nebraska: Black, 31, 

No. 33 (a key on a red flannel string) — California: Dresslar, 114. 

HDA VI, 973 ; Hovorka-Kronfcld, 11, 469. 

1899 Drop a key down your back and it will stop the nose from 
bleeding. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh ; the Green Collection ; and an anonymous 
informant. General: Bergen, Current, No. 856 — South Carolina: 
Bryant 11, 138, No. 41 — Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 15 (pass a door 
key up and down the back) ; Thomas, No. 1080 — Tennessee: Carter, 
4 (a door key tied to a string and slipped up and down the patient's 
back) ; Farr, Riddles, No. 10 — Mississippi: Hudson, 152, No. i — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 378 (press a key on the back of the neck) — 
New York: Gardner, No. 35 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 41 (house 
key [German]) ; Fogel, No. 1591 (hang a key down the back [German]) ; 
No. 1593 (German) ; Phillips, 163, No. 10 (a cold key) ; Shoemaker, 
23 (hang a key down the back) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 34. No. 4 
(hold a door key to the back of the neck) — Illinois: Allison, No. 74; 
Hyatt, No. 551 1 (dropping a key down your back or holding a key against 

your back). Black, Folk-Medicine, 183; Radford, 182; Hovorka- 

Kronfeld 11, 7 ; Kittredge, Witchcraft, 198. 

1900 To cure the nosebleed, drop a bunch of keys down the 
person's back next to the skin. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and four other informants— two from 
central counties, one anonymous, and one from Washington, D. C. North 
Carolina: Folk-Lore xLix (1938), 167 (a pair of keys on the back of 
the neck) — South: Puckett, 376 (Negro) — South Carolina: Fitchett, 
360 f. — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5513 (a bunch of keys on a green string 
worn around the neck). 

1 901 Place scissors on the back of the neck to cure the nose 
from bleeding. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. North Carolina: 
Folk-Lore xlix (1938), 167 — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 41 — 
Tennessee: Carter, 4 (a pair of scissors tied to a string and slipped up 
and down the patient's back) ; McGlasson, 16, No. 7 (down the back) ; 
Rogers, 31 (down the back) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 378 — Indiana: 
Brewster, Cwr^j, 34, No. 4 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5533; No. 5534 
("Our neighbor would always drop a pair of scissors down anyone's 
back that had the nosebleed") — Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 15 — 
Texas: Turner, 167 (down the back). 



246 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1902 Drop a silver dollar down a person's neck when his nose 
is bleeding, and it will stop. 

Alma Irene Stone, Meredith College, Wake county. Cf. South Carolina: 
Bryant 11, 138, No. 41 (a silver coin at the back of the neck) — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 378 (press a silver coin on the back of the 
neck) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 41 (press a silver coin on the 
back of the neck, or, drop a cent down the back [German]) ; Fogel, No. 
1593 (drop a cent down the back [German]). 

1903 Place a fifty-cent piece on the upper roof of the mouth to 
stop the nosebleed. 

Green Collection. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 35 (under the upper 
lip). 

1904 To stop the nose from bleeding, put a dime under your 
tongue. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Kentucky: Carter, 
Mountain, 15 — Tennessee: Carter, 3 f . ; Frazier, 35, No. 26 (a dime 
up the nose edgewise) ; No. 27; McGlasson, 16, No. 10 (in the upper 
lip) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 34, No. i (roof of the mouth) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5499 (hold a dime against the roof of the mouth 
with the tongue) ; No. 5500 (under the upper lip) ; No. 5501 (between 
the lower lip and the teeth) ; No. 5502 (wrap two dimes in separate 
pieces of brown paper and insert these packages, one on each side, under 
your lower or upper lips) — Osarks: Randolph, 145 (a bright new dime 
placed inside the upper lip in front of the teeth) — Nebraska: Black, 31, 
No. 37 (on the back of the tongue) — Neiv Mexico: Baylor, 149, No. 
2e (Spanish). 

1905 Place a coin (nickel or quarter) in the roof of the mouth 
to stop the nose from bleeding. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 
41 — Tennessee: McGlasson, 16, No. 14 (quarter between lips and 
teeth) ; No. 20 (nickel under tongue) ; Redfield, No. 63 (nickel) ; Rogers, 
31 (penny between the upper lip and gums) — Mississippi: Hudson, 152, 
No. 4 (small coin under the tongue) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 41 
(a silver coin pressed against the upper lip [German]); Fogel, No. 
1590 (same as the previous item) — Illinois: Allison, No. 158 (silver 
coin under the upper lip) ; Hyatt, No. 5522 (hold a nickel against the 
gums) ; No. 5535 (keep a piece of silver under the upper lip) — Ozarks: 
Randolph, 145 — Texas: Woodhull, 61 (put a nickel in the roof of your 
mouth and hold it with your tongue, and at the same time hold your 
hands high up in the air) — Nebraska: Black, 30, No. 21 (same as previ- 
ous item) ; 31, No. 26 (a penny under the upper lip and a cold key down 
your back) ; No. 38 (a nickel under the upper lip) ; No. 40 (a penny 
in the mouth) — Neiu Mexico: Baylor, 149, No. 2b (penny under the 

upper lip [Spanish]). Cf. Nos. 1871, 1897, 1903 flf., above. Hovorka- 

Kronfeld 11, 49 (three kopeks placed between the eyes). 

1906 Wear a dime around your neck to stop the nosebleed. 

Julian P. Boyd. Tennessee: McGlasson, 16, No. 15 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5503 (dip a dime in cold water and lay it on the back of the neck). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 247 

1907 The sixth verse of the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel will 
stop the nosebleed. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Cf. Nos. 775, 
881 ff., 1625, above. 

1908 To stop bleeding of the nose, cut two short twigs from 
a living branch, take off the bark, place the pieces (about two 
inches long) in the form of a cross; then let the blood from the 
nose drop on the twigs so as to make the entire length of each 
piece red. When they are colored, the bleeding will cease. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and Mamie Mansfield, 
Durham county. 

1909 To cure nosebleeding, write the person's name on the 
forehead. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

Obesity 
191 o Sassafras, drunk freely, will reduce the flesh. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

Operations 

191 1 Mother's Worth tea and penny rye tea are taken for 
operations. 

Julia McRae. 

Palsy 

1 91 2 A bird dying in your hand will give you the palsy. 

Anonymous. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 641 ("How badly you 
write," someone said to a schoolboy, who answered : "My hand always 
shakes; I once had a robin die in my hand; they say it'll always make 
your hand shake." Radford, 203 (robin). 

191 3 Never let a chicken die in your hand, or you'll have the 
palsy. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, two other informants from Wayne and 
McDowell counties, and two anonymous informants. Maryland: 
Whitney-Bullock, No. 645; No. 797 (Negroes believe that when the 
hands of the aged among them shake continually, it is because they 
have wrung necks of a great many chickens) — Kansas: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 972; Davenport, 132 ("Never let a chicken die in your 
hands, and you will not have palsy"). 

Pellagra 

1 91 4 Eating cornbread causes pellagra. 
Green Collection. 



248 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

191 5 Poplar bark is steeped as a cure for pellagra. 

Anonymous. The Cherokee Indians of Robeson county employ this 
remedy. 

Phthisic 

191 6 To cure phthisic, live in the open. Eat eggs, drink milk, 
rest a long while. Drink life everlasting tea. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

191 7 For phthisic, eat the fat of a dead rattlesnake which did 
not bite itself. 

Anonymous. 

1918 For phthisic, drink tea made from cockleburs. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county, and Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort 
county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1287. 

1919 Burn dried Jimson leaves and inhale the smoke for 
phthisic. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 1921, below. 

1920 Take the syrup of sliced red onion covered with sugar 
for phthisic. 

Anonymous. 

1 92 1 Smoke silkweed to cure phthisic. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Kentucky: Fowler, No. 
S7 (smoke a tobacco pipe). Cf. No. 1919, above. 

1922 Take two or three drops of kerosene in sweet oil for 
phthisic. 

Anonymous. 

1923 For phthisic, stand the one affected against a tree, fasten 
a lock of his hair in the tree, and then cut that lock ofif. When 
the place grows over, the sick one will be cured. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county, and Thomas Smith, Zionville, 
Watauga county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1286 ■ — Tennessee: Farr, 
Riddles, No. 31 (go to a tree and bore a hole in it even with the top 
of your head ; put some of your hair in the hole, and when the bark grows 
over the hole you will be rid of the disease) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 
37, No. 2 (mark the child's height on an oak tree upon which the child's 
head has rested ; cut a lock of his hair, place it in the notch and nail back 
the chip ; when the child has grown taller than the notch on the tree, he 
will have outgrown the disease) ; No. 3 (mark the child's height on three 
inner doors of a house ; if he does not return to this house until he has 
grown taller than the marks, he will be cured). 

1924 For phthisic, measure yourself with a broomstick, and 
put the broomstick upstairs where you will never see it again. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county, and Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort 
county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1285. Cf. Nos. 327 f., above. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 249 
Piles 

1925 Buckeyes carried in the pocket of one's trousers will pre- 
vent piles. 

Dr. E. V. Howell, Chapel Hill, Orange county, and three other in- 
formants from central and western counties. South: Puckett, 361 
(carried in the left pocket [Negro]) — North Carolina: Bruton, Be- 
liefs, No. 8 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1288 (horse chestnut) — Ten- 
nessee: Rogers, 31 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 184 (horse chest- 
nut [German]); Fogel, No. 1617 (horse chestnuts are good for piles 
[German]) ; Lick-Brendle, 256 (a salve made by grating horse chest- 
nuts and rubbing them up with lard [German]); Phillips, 163, No. 7 
(horse chestnut) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5556; Wheeler, 65 (horse chest- 
nut) — Texas: Woodhull, 61 (carry a buckeye at all times) — 

Nebraska: Black, 19, No. 17. Johnson, Normandy, 189; HDA vii, 

791. 

1926 Take balm of Gilead buds, place them in water and boil 
for a short while. Then take the juice and add some fresh but- 
ter that hasn't been salted, and boil until it thickens, and you 
will have a cure for piles. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

1927 Take Jimson weed leaves, boiled, and add lard to make a 
salve that will cure piles. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

1928 Irish potatoes carried in the left hip pocket are a cure for 
piles. 

Green Collection. South: Puckett, 360 (a raw potato carried in the 
[left] hip pocket is generally supposed to work a cure for piles, the 
potato petrifying as the malady is drawn from the body [Negro]) — 
Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1385 (potatoes are good for piles [German]) ; 
No. 1623 (three potatoes in your pocket [German]). 

1929 A salve made of sulphur and lard will cure piles. 

Clara Hearne, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax county, and J. Frederick Doer- 
ing, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5570 (drink a tablespoonful of powdered sulphur in a pint of milk each 
morning or night). 

Pimples 

1930 Pimples may be removed by using sweat of cornbread. 
Three applications are enough. 

Green Collection. 

1931 To prevent pimples, apply a mixture of sulphur and mo- 
lasses. To bring to a head, cover with a mild soap, or with the 
inner skin of a raw egg. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 214. 



250 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Plat-Eye 

1932 Sulphur is an efifective protection against plat-eye. 

George E. Hoffman (Arkansas). For a general treatment of plat-eye, 
see Puckett, 130. 

Pneumonia 

1933 For pneumonia, kill a chicken, cut it open, and use the 
warm organs as a poultice on the chest. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1290 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5483 — Ocarks: Randolph, 94 (chicken manure mixed with 
lard used as a poultice; the dung of black chickens is best) — Nebraska: 
Black, 13, No. 58 (cut a live chicken in two and place it over the 
lungs of the sick person) — Idaho: Lore, 214. 

1934 Corn meal poultice is good for pneumonia. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 13, No. 60 (cook 
onions thickened with corn meal, and place the warm mixture over the 
lungs). 

1935 A poultice of ground flaxseed and water, covered with 
mustard before applying to the affected parts, will cure pneu- 
monia. Renew when it cools. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 95 
(mustard plaster) — Ontario: Doering, Customs, 152 (old fashioned 
mustard plaster) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 140 (a pint of 
flaxseed boiled in a quart of water ; when the mixture boils down to a 
pint, strain and mix with a quarter of a pound of rock candy, then add 
lemon) — Idaho: Lore, 214. 

1936 The juice of roasted onion is good for pneumonia. 

Anonymous. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 50 (juice extracted from baked 
onions mixed with a little sugar) — Onarks: Randolph, 94 (tea of onions 
with wild lobelia for "pneumony fever"). Onion poultices were also in 
use in many parts of the Middle States and the Southwest. 

1937 For pneumonia, boil three large potatoes with their skins 
on, mash, and add a tablespoon of mustard and another of salt 
and a teaspoon of lobelia. Apply the mixture in muslin bags to 
both the chest and back and change as they cool. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore. 214. 

1938 Red dogwood bark tea put into whiskey is good for pneu- 
monia. 

Anonymous. 

1939 To cure pneumonia, boil together a gallon of vinegar, a 
package of red pepper, and a handful of salt. Apply on a wet 
towel to the chest and throat. This should be changed as soon 
as it cools. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 3 (vinegar taken 
internally) — Idaho: Lore, 214. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 251 

1940 Make a tar jacket, and wear until the pain leaves. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. North Carolina: Bruton, Medicine. 
No. 28 (tar plaster [detailed description of how the plaster is made] ; 
for children, the tar was qualified with lard) — loiva: Stout, No. 880 
(pine tar on the chest and back, with parts to be covered with a woolen 
jacket). 

Poison 

1 94 1 Cedar balls are good for poison. 
Cozette Coble, Stanly county. 

1942 Horehound juice taken internally is good for poison. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 1943, below. 

1943 Negro Cesar recommended the pounded roots of plan- 
tain internally. 

Green Collection. From Gales' Almanac (1828) : "Negro Cesar's cure 
for poison, for discovering which the General Assembly of South 
Carolina gave him freedom and an allowance for life. Roots of plantain 
and hoarhound [sic] (or roots and branches) tea. Drink also roots 
of goldenrod (to which may be added a little hoarhound and sassa- 
fras). Add a glass of rum and brandy. If patient finds no altera- 
tion after first dose, it is a sign that the patient has either not been 
poisoned at all, or that it is with such poison as Cesar's antidotes will 
not remedy." — P.G. The remedy is reported also from New York state 
(Crandall, 179). 

Poison Ivy 

1944 Guano water is a cure for ivy poisoning. 
Green Collection. 

1945 To prevent poisoning from ivy, eat a small portion of the 
root in the spring and you will be proof against it during the 
whole year. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General (?): Doering, Remedies, 140 (chew ivy 
leaves) — Ontario: Doering, Customs, 153 (same as previous item) — 
New England: Johnson, What They Say, 75 (eat poison ivy and it will 
never poison you afterward) — New York: Relihan, Remedies, 167 
(eat three leaves of the poison ivy vine and you will never be affected 
by it again) — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 255 (German) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5589 (eat a poison ivy leaf) ; No. 5590 (chew poison ivy 
leaves occasionally) ; No. 5591 (drink a tea made of poison ivy leaves). 
A more drastic application of homeopathic principles is seen in preven- 
tives from Pcnnsyh'ania (Brendle-Unger, 50 [German]; Lick-Brendle, 
255 [German]), where rubbing of crushed ivy leaves on the hands, arms, 
legs, etc., is prescribed. In West Virginia (Musick, 4, No. 4a), going 
on the theory that "it took poison to kill poison," people rubbed ivy 
leaves on poison ivy sores). 

1946 The dew ofif of the love vine is good for poison ivy. 
Green Collection. 



252 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1947 Use nightshade and cream for ivy poisoning. 

Green Collection. West Virginia: Musick. 4, No. 4b (wash nightshade 
leaves and mix with cream; apply paste to the sores) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5593 (mashed nightshade berries mixed with sweet cream) — 
Nebraska: Black, 33, No. 28, mix nightshade berries and cream). 

Poison Oak 

1948 Do not look at a person who has been poisoned with 
poison oak, or you will be sure to catch the disease. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 260 (poison ivy [not poison oak] can be contracted by simply look- 
ing at the person suffering from it). Cf. No. IQSS, below. 

1949 Green tomato will cure poison oak. 
Green Collection. 

1950 A sure cure for poison oak is to get wild "touch-me-not" 
and break it at the joints and rub it on. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

Poison Vines 

1 95 1 Melted lard is an antidote for chewing mountain laurel. 
Green Collection. 

1952 Gourd vines made into a bathing solution are good for 
dew poisoning. 

Anonymous. 

1953 Soak your feet in urine for dew poisoning. 
Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 141 1 (urinate on ivy poison). 

1954 Salt water will cure vine poisoning. 

Anonymous. Cf. Texas: WoodhuU, 62 (strong salt water and a sponge 
[poison oak]) — Nebraska: Black, 33, No. 29 (wash the affected part 
with strong salt water [for ivy poisoning]). 

1955 Poisoning from the poison vine will be contracted by 
looking at it. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. Cf. Ontario: Waugh, No. 
260 (poisoning from poison ivy can be contracted by simply looking at 
the person suffering from it). Cf. No. 1948, above. 

Quinsy 

1956 Figs boiled in milk, and swallowed whole, will cure the 
quinsy. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 253 

1957 Our great-grandmothers wore a flannel neckpiece for their 
quinsy because it was red. 

Anonymous. The flannel is likely related to other fabrics, strings, etc., 
worn about the neck. Cf. New England: Backus 11, 197 ( a piece of 
black silk ribbon). Udal, 222 (band of silk). 

1958 A string of gold beads is still held to be a preventive of 
quinsy. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Prince Edward Island: Bergen, Current, No. 800 
— Neiv Hampshire: ibid.. No. 799. Cf. No. 1541, above. 

Rash 

1959 Rub a person in meal and it will cure him or her of the 
rash. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 

i960 To cure the rash, give rosemary tea, powder with chimney 
dirt (from a dirt chimney) tied up in a thin cloth. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

1 961 As a cure for the rash, take weak bread soda. 
Anonymous. 

1962 To cure the rash, bathe in the dew on flowers in the early 
morning. 

Anonymous. Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162. Wessman, 6 (mid- 
summer dew). 

1963 To cure the rash, let someone whose father died before 
his birth blow his breath in the sick person's face three times. 

Ethel Brown, Catawba county, three other informants — two from cen- 
tral counties, and one informant (R. L. Brown) who had encountered the 
belief in three western counties. "My grandmother was born after her 
father joined the army. He never returned, and I can remember that 
mothers brought their babies to have mother blow into their mouth." — 
M.M. "I can remember neighbor mothers would come to our house with 
their babies to get my mother to blow into their mouths in order to 
cure them of the rash." — R.L.B. Kentucky: Shearin, 320 (one afflicted 
with "thrash" or rash, a skin disease, may be cured if a person who has 
never seen his own father blows his breath into the mouth of the 
sufferer) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5020 ("My son never saw his father, so 
he had the power to cure rash by blowing his breath on any child. 
People would come from miles for my son to blow his breath on their 
children when they had the rash"). (Tf. No. 334, (for a confusion with 
thrush ["thrash"] Nos. 413 ff., above). 

1964 For rash, if on a woman's body, let a man look at it, and 
if on a man's body, let a woman look at it. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. 



254 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Rheumatic Fever 

1965 Rheumatic fever is prevented by carrying a horse-chest- 
nut in one's pocket. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 196. 

Rheumatism 

1966 Bleeding is sometimes used to cure rheumatism. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 161 (blood let from the median artery, with ritualistic 
burial of blood and planting of a willow). 

1967 For rheumatism, fill a can with angleworms, let it stand 
in the sun all day, and rub the oil in the stiff joints. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county, and an anonymous informant. 
West Virginia: WVF i, No. i, [p. 15], No. 3b (woolly worms soaked 
in water) — Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 16 (place fishing worms in a 
bottle before the fire. When their oil has covered them, mix the slime 
with an equal part of brandy and apply) ; Price, 32 (red-worm oil) ; 
Thomas, No. 1296; No. 1313 (red-worm oil) — Ontario: Wintemberg, 
Waterloo, 13 (a salve made of earthworms) — New England: Backus 
II, 196 (a quart of angleworms caught and hung alive in a thin cloth for 
the water to drip from them is a great remedy for rheumatism ; the af- 
fected parts are to be rubbed with the juice of the worms) ; Bergen, 
Animal, No. 825 (earthworms tried out in a bottle by the heat of the 
sun) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5384 — Iowa: Stout, No. 895 (fill a can 

with angleworms and hang on a wire fence). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 

290. 

1968 For rheumatism, one should stew baits (fishing worms) 
with hog lard, and use as an ointment. 

Green Collection. Cf. West Virginia: Musick, 4, No. ib (put fishing 
worms in a bottle and set on the hearth before the fire ; when the oil has 
covered them, mix with an equal amount of brandy, and apply to the 
affected parts). 

1969 A bee sting is said to be most beneficial to one suffering 
from rheumatism. 

Julian P. Boyd, and "Click," February, 1938; also Sue Hull (Indiana). 
South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 67 — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, 
No. 39 (go near a bee gum and permit the bees to sting you severely) — 
New York: Gardner, No. 41 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 160 (the 
sting of a honey bee) ; 206 (German) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, yj. 
No. I (let several bees sting the affected part) — Illinois: Allison, No. 
81; Hyatt, No. 5318; Smith i, 58 — Wisconsin: Brown, Insects, 6 — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 889 — Nebraska: Black, 20, No. i (bare your back 
or arm and let someone shake a drove of bees on it to sting you ; this 

will cure your rheumatism) ; 21, No. 13. Radford, 32, 199; HDA i, 

1247. 

1970 For rheumatism, put a bumble bee sting between the 
fingers. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1300. 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 255 

1 971 Wearing a buzzard feather behind the ear will prevent 
rheumatism. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Alabama: Bergen, Animal, No. 20 — New York: 
Travis, 202 — Alissouri: Randolph, 152 ("An old woman near South- 
west Cit\', Alissouri, painfully bent and twisted by rheumatism, assured 
me that the black [buzzard] feather she always wore in her hair 'had 
done more good than twenty year o' doctorin'l") — Osarks: Wilson, 
Folk Beliefs, 161 (a buzzard feather in one's hatband) — Washington: 
Tacoma, 17. 

1972 Buzzard grease is used to cure rheumatism. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. South: Puckett, 361 f. (Negro) — 
Georgia: Campbell, 2 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 160 (cut off the 
feathers of a turkey buzzard with shears and hang the carcass to the fire 
so that it will be roasted ; catch the fat and smear your limbs as long 
as you feel pain [German]) ; Rupp, 254, No. 9 (same as previous item) 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5323. 

1973 If a cat be allowed to sleep on the bed, it will cure a per- 
son of rheumatism by absorbing the rheumatism. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. New England: Black, Folk- 
Medicine, 151 f. — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5325 (sleep with your feet 
against a cat and your rheumatism will go into the cat) — Nebraska: 
Black, 20, No. 3 (sleep with a cat on the foot of your bed; when the cat 

gets your rheumatism, you will not be bothered with it any longer). 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 282. By extension of this principle of transference, 
the skin of a cat is worn as clothing in Louisiana (Puckett, p. 471) and 
Kansas (Bergen, Animal, No. 865; Davenport, 131), with magic attrac- 
tion perhaps playing a more important role than the natural warmth of 
the fur. Cf. No. 1975, below, for a similar practice involving dogs. 

1974 For rheumatism, bind the entrails of chickens to the feet. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5328 (take a chicken and cut 
it in two and leave all the entrails in, and put your foot right into the 
chicken and it will take all the rheumatism you have in your body ; the 
poison will go into the chicken) — Utah: Bergen, Animal, No. 776; 
No. 77y (roast a live chicken and apply). 

1975 Sleeping with a dog will cure rheumatism. The animal 
absorbs the rheumatism. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 886 
(Mexican hairless dog) — South: Knortz, 130 (Negro) — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1303 — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 38, No. 6 (let a dog sleep 
on the rheumatic spot, and he will contract the rheumatism) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5334 (the dog will absorb the disease and become crippled) ; 
Norlin, 204, No. 8 (the animal will draw out your rheumatism) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 890 — Texas: Woodhull, 65 (sleeping with a pelon [chi- 
huahua] is infallible) ; 13 (an instance is given of a dog that died fol- 
lowing the ordeal) — Kansas: Bergen, Animal, No. 884 (Negroes sleep 
with young dogs in order to transmit rheumatism to them) ; Davenport, 
132 (same) — Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 14 — Mexico: Knortz, p. 130. 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 282; Storaker, Sygdom, No. 252. 



256 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1976 Grease stewed from a black dog, and applied in the dark 
of the moon, is a sure cure for rheumatism, 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 361 (Negro) — 
Kentucky: Sanders, 21 (Dr. Richard Carter, in a book published in 
Versailles, Kentucky, in 1825, gives the following prescription for rheu- 
matism : Take a young fat dog and kill him ; then extract his entrails 
from a hole previously made in his side, and substitute in place thereof, 
two handfuls of nettles, two ounces of brimstone, one dozen hen eggs, 
four ounces of turpentine, a handful of tansy, a pint of red fishing worms, 
and about three-fourths of a pound of tobacco cut up fine ; mix all these 
ingredients well together before depositing them in the dog, and then 
sew up the hole and roast him well before a hot fire. Save the oil 
and anoint your joints before the fire as hot as you can bear it, being 
careful not to get wet, or to expose j^ourself to the damp or night air) 
— Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 159 (dog fat). 

1977 To cure rheumatism, kill an eel, hang the skin up to dry, 
and tie it around the rheumatic limb (arm, wrist, leg, ankle, 
etc.). 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and five other informants from central 
counties. South: Puckett, 363 f. (Negro) — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1778 (wear an eelskin on your legs) — Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 1304 (around the neck) — Cape Breton: Bergen, Animal, No. 869 
(about the wrist) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 95, No. 66 (Fill a half 
gallon jar with rum and put an eel in about ij^ feet long. Then take 
the eel out and skin it. Use the skin as a belt. Take two teaspoonfuls of 
the mixture the eel was put in, two or three times a day) [There are 
frequent instances of eelskin belts and garters being used, but this is the 
only instance I have seen of the liquid being taken internally.] — New 
England: Johnson, What They Say, yy (around the waist) — Maine: 
Bergen, Animal, No. 867 (around the waist) — Massachusetts: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 868 (eight years ago [1891] eelskins were kept for sale 
in a fish market [Waltham, Mass.] for the cure of rheumatism) — New 
York: Crandall, 180 (around the waist) ; Relihan, Remedies, 167 (around 
the joint affected) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 159 (around the joint 
or muscle [German]); Fogel, No. 1748 (about a joint [German]) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5336 (the rheumatic parts of your body can be 
cured by wrapping an eelskin around them) — Kansas: Bergen, Animal, 

No. 870 (about the leg) ; Davenport, 131 (same as previouse item). 

HDA I, 3 (used against the related ailments of gout and cramp). 

1978 For rheumatism, apply split frogs to the feet, for they 
will draw out the fever. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 38 (rub the 
joints in the fat of a frog which has been cooked alive) — Georgia: 
Campbell, 2 (rub on frog oil) — Utah: Bergen, Animal, No. yyy (roast 

a frog and apply for rheumatism). Black, Folk-Medicine, 63 (frog's 

spawn out of the dykes and put in a crock with a slate on top and buried 
three months will cure rheumatism). Cf. No. 1993, below. 

1979 Goat grease is used to cure rheumatisin. 
Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. 

1980 Grubworms fried to a crisp, mashed up, are used as an 
ointment and rubbing compound for rheumatism. 

Mrs. R. D. Blacknall, Durham county. Cf. No. 1967, above. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 257 

1 981 A salve of grubworms stewed with lard is good for rheu- 
matism. 

The Misses Holeman, Durham county. Cf. Nos. 1967, 1980, above. 

1982 A fin-bone of the haddock, carried in the pocket, will cure 
rheumatism. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Quebec: 
Rousseau, Abenakise, 154, No. 5 (French). Also listed in an account in 

Tunc, Oct. 21, 1940. Radford, 200 (bone of the haddock that lies under 

the marks of Christ's fingers, etc.) 

1983 If you will go to a tree where a hog has rubbed, and then 
rub and squeal, your rheumatism will be cured. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Maryland: Bullock, 
10 (a hog's eye-teeth worn around the neck) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
No. 1739 (wear the eyetooth of a pig [German]) — Illinois: Smith i, 
58 (carry the shank of a hog) — Neiv Mexico: Moya, 50 (the knuckle- 
bone of a pig carried in the pocket [Spanish]). 

1984 To cure rheumatism, wear around the neck the front foot 
of a mole tied on with a cotton string. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, 362 (squeeze a mole to death in 
your hand [Negro]). 

1985 The right forefoot of a rabbit is used to ward off rheuma- 
tism. 

Green Collection. Cf. Neiv York: Barnes, No. 76b (which foot, right or 
left, not specified) — Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 20 (carry a rabbit's foot 

in your pocket). The following European references are all to the 

right forefoot of a hare: Black, Folk-Medicine, 154; Choice Notes, 12; 
Radford, 199. 

1986 The left forefoot of rabbit is a cure for rheumatism. 
Green Collection. Cf. California: Dresslar, 43 (a rabbit's left hind foot). 

1987 A snakeskin belt, or a snakeskin around the wrist, will 
cure rheumatism. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Lucille Massey, Durham. 
South: Puckett, 361 (the author makes the excellent suggestion, by the 
principles of sympathy, that the flexibility of the snake was the quality 
which first suggested its use to cure stiffness) — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1780 (a snakeskin knotted three times and worn around the 
leg just below the knee) — Cape Breton: Bergen, Animal, No. 869 — 
Nezi> England: Bergen, Animal, No. 871 (wrap the suffering limb in a 
snakeskin) — Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 18 (piece of snakeskin in the hip 

pocket) ; Pound, 165. Black, Folk-Medicine, 156 (keeping a snake or 

wearing a snakeskin around the neck) ; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 285. 

1988 To prevent rheumatism, wear a blacksnake's skin around 
the wrist. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and anonymous. Cf. 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5376 ("Last spring a man said that he was watching 
for the appearance of the first black snake so that he could kill it and 
wear the skin to cure his rheumatism. He does this each year"). 



258 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

1989 The skin of a rattlesnake dried and tied around the wrist 
or leg is good for rheumatism. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 361 (wrist) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1322 (a belt made of rattlesnake skin will 
cure rheumatism). In the Midwest and Southwest rattlesnake rattles 
are carried in the pocket or worn in the hatband to prevent and cure 
rheumatism. 

1990 A dried snakeskin (especially rattlesnake) tied around 
the waist or leg is good for rheumatism. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 361 — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 441 (around the ankle). 

1991 For rheumatism, try a Chinese remedy: behead a rattle- 
snake, put it into a jar and cover with rice whiskey and leave for 
a year ; then drink the whiskey. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. General: Knortz : 66 (American backwoods- 
men put the flesh of rattlesnakes into brandy, making it into bitters to 
be taken in wet weather against rheumatism) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1323 (kill a rattlesnake which has had no chance to strike, skin it, dry 
the remains, place them in a jug of corn whiskey, and drink the whiskey) 

— Illinois: Fox, 4 (a small snake is put in a pint of whiskey, and a 
few spoonfuls taken from time to time as a treatment for rheumatism) 

— Idaho: Lore, 214. Another preparation made from snakes, snake oil, 
found wide use as an external application in the United States, as at- 
tested by no fewer than fifteen entries in my files from most parts of the 

country. Black, Folk-Medicine, 155 f . ; Taboada, 41 (preparations 

made with snakes [taken internally]). 

1992 Tallow mixed with red pepper tea is good for rheumatism. 
Rub it on at bedtime. 

Anonymous. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 26 (put seven pods of red pepper 
in coal oil and apply externally) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5360 (put red 
pepper in a bottle and then fill with coal oil). Cf. Nos. 1997 f., below. 

1993 Apply a live toad to the afifected limb and the rheumatism 
will get well. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South: Puckett, 364 
(a live toad-frog) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1325 (bind a live toad 
to the back ; the pain will pass from the back of the sufferer into the 
toad) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 439 (fry wart toads and use the grease 
for rheumatism) — New York: Relihan, Remedies, 169 (a toad salve 
made by boiling four toads, and adding unsalted butter and tincture of 
arnica). Cf. No. 1978, above. 

1994 For rheumatism, carry an acorn in the pocket. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1293. 

1995 Carrying a buckeye is supposed to prevent and cure rheu- 
matism. 

Fred Stanley, and twelve other informants from widely separated 
counties. South: Puckett, 360 (carried in the [left] pocket [Negro]) 

— North Carolina: Bruton, Beliefs, No. 8 — IVest Virginia: Musick, 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 259 

4, No. la — Kcutuck-y: Price, 33; Sanders, 21; Shearin, 320; Stuart, 9 
— Tcnucsscc: Farr, Sitpcrsfifious, No. 36; Law, 98 (left rear pocket) — 
Pennsylvania: Sener, 241 ; White, 79 (German) — Indiana: Brewster, 
Cures, 38, No. 2; Brewster, Specimens, 362 f . ; Busse, 16, No. 21 (a 
buckeye seed) ; Halpert, Cures, 5 — Illinois: Allison, No. 149; Hyatt, 
No. 5321 ; No. 5322 (drink buckeye tea; this will either kill or cure you) ; 
Norlin, 204, No. 5; Smith 11, 69, No. 17 (carry a buckeye "buU's-cye") ; 
Wheeler, 65 (a buckeye kept in the pocket until it withers) — lozva: 
Stout, No. 883 — Missouri: McKinney, 107 (carry a "buck eye" at all 
times) — Ocarhs: Randolph, 153 ("One of the most successful physicians 
in southwest Missouri always carries a buckeye; when it was mislaid once 
he was very much disturbed and let an officeful of patients wait until his 
pocket piece was recovered") — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 73; Smith, 
Folk Cures, 81 — Texas: Hatfield, 158 (buckeye seed); Lewis, 267; 
Woodhull, 65 — Nebraska: Black 42, No. 35; 21, No. 23 (carried in the 
left pocket, according to some persons) — Washington: Tacoma, 8. Cf. 
Nos. 2022 f., below. 

1996 Take equal parts of camphor, gum, and homemade lard 
and boil for half an hour. Apply to a person to cure the rheu- 
matism, and wrap the affected parts with flannel. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5324 ("I will 
never have the rheumatism, because every night when I go to bed, I tie 

a bag of camphor under each knee to keep from having it"). HDA 

IV, 958. 

1997 Cayenne pepper and vinegar are good for the rheumatism. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 444 (red 
pepper in your pocket) Cf. No. 1992, above. 

1998 Red peppers put in the shoes will help rheumatism. 

Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 9200 (get an old 
pair of shoes and put pepper in them, then send them to a person and it 
will give them the rheumatism). Numerous other practices involving 
shoes in the treatment of rheumatism exist, such as crossing the shoes 
under the bed, burning shoes, etc., etc. Cf. notes to No. 2069, below. 

1999 For rheumatism, bind collard roots to the feet. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, 362 (collard leaves and vinegar 
[Negro]). 

2000 Ground holly made into a tea will cure rheumatism. 
Anonymous. 

2001 To prevent and cure rheumatism carry a horse chestnut in 
your pocket. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and Mildred Peterson, 
Bladen county. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 1132 (true chestnut) ; 
Knortz, 48 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, Nos. 1778, 1792 (chestnut) 
— Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1299; Shearin, 320 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 
435 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 321; Wintemberg, German 11, 87; Wintem- 
berg. Grey, No. 150 (horse-chestnuts should be picked when green, and 
carried in the pocket until dried up; then the rheumatism will dis- 
appear); Wintemberg, Waterloo. 13 — New England: Backus 11, 197; 



260 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Johnson, What They Say, 75 — New York: Barnes, No. 76a; Crandall, 
180; Gardner, No. 42 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 159 (German) ; 
Fogel, No. 1755 (German); Grumbine, 275; Lick-Brendle, 256 (Ger- 
man) ; Phillips, 163, No. 9; Shoemaker, 20 — Illinois: Smith i, 58 (carry 
a bull's eye [horse chestnut] in your pocket) — loiva: Stout, No. 888 
(chestnut [Norwegian]) — Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 28 — California: 
Dresslar, 16 — Washington: Tacoma, 8, ii, 16. Cf. No. 1995, above; No. 

2002, below. Choice Notes, 7 ; Black, Folk-Medicine, 193 (both 

chestnut) ; HDA viii, 791 ; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 292. 

2002 To cure rheumatism carry a horse chestnut in your right- 
hand pants pocket. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Nos. 1995, 2001, 
above. 

2003 Horse-radish will cure rheumatism. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Ontario: Wintemberg, Toronto, No. 
30 — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 166 (used both internally and ex- 
ternally [German]). 

2004 For rheumatism, take a lemon every three days, miss three 
days, and repeat until a dozen have been taken. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Illinois: Allison, No. 154 (drink one-half tea- 
spoonful of soda in lemon juice [one lemon] every day to cure rheuma- 
tism) ; Hyatt, No. 5349 (eat a lemon with salt every morning before 
breakfast) ; No. 5350 (eat a lemon every morning one hour before break- 
fast until you have consumed sixty-two lemons, and you will never have 
rheumatism) — Idaho: Lore, 214. 

2005 Drink hot lemon juice for rheumatism. 

Anonymous. 

2006 Chew root of lion tongue for rheumatism. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2007 Mormon plant is good for rheumatism. 
Anonymous. 

2008 For rheumatism, crush mustard seeds, dampen them with 
a little vinegar, and sprinkle flour over them. Spread this mix- 
ture on a cloth and apply it to the affected part. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Kentucky: Sanders, 21 
(use mustard plasters) — New England: Johnson, PVhat They Say, 164 
(put mustard in your shoes). Cf. No. 1998, above. 

2009 To cure rheumatism, wear a nutmeg around the neck. 
Some people say the nutmeg must be worn on a silk thread. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham, and an anonymous informant. South: Puckett 
(photograph facing p. 314) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 131 1 — Ten- 
nessee: Rogers, 31 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 440 — Arkansas: Ran- 
dolph, 152 — Texas: Turner, 167 — Califortiia: Dresslar, 116. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 261 

2010 Nutmeg carried in the pocket will keep ofif rheumatism. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5354 — Missouri: Bergen, 
Auimal, No. 1143 — Ozarks: Randolph, 152 — California: Dresslar, 116. 

201 1 For rheumatism, bind onions to the feet. 
Green Collection. Cf. Foster, 60 (eat raw onions). 

2012 Pokeberries are good for rheumatism. 

Anonymous. Cf. Tennessee: O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 (drink pokeberry 
wine) — Rogers, 26 f. (poke root poultices) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1312 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 159 (juice of pokeberries to wash 
rheumatic limbs [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5362 (eat uncooked 
pokeberries) — Texas: Woodhull, 65 (ointment made from pokeberries). 

2013 Boiled poke roots are a cure for rheumatism. 
Anonymous. 

2014 Tea made of pokeberry root or berries is good for the 
rheumatism. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, 364 (tea made of poke root, alum, 
salt, boiled to make a liniment [Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1312 — Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. 16 (pokeberry wine) ; Red- 
field, No. 118 (pokeberry wine) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5363 (tea made 
of pokeberries) ; No. 5364 (poke roots) ; No. 5365 (tea from poke leaves 
and stems) — Ozarks: Randolph, 107 f. 

2015 Pokeberries and whiskey are good for the rheumatism. 
Put the berries in a jar or bottle and pour whiskey over them. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 66 — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1312 — Tennessee: Rogers, 17 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5366 (two tablespoonfuls of pokeberries in a quart of whiskey left stand- 
ing twenty-four hours) ; No. 5367 (pokeberries in a pint of whiskey 
steeped nine days) ; Smith 11, 69, No. 17. 

2016 Pokeweed tea and corn "likker" for "rheumatiz." 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Cf. Nos. 2014 f., 
above. 

2017 Irish potatoes are carried in the pocket to prevent and 
cure rheumatism. Some say they must be stolen potatoes. 

Green Collection, and eight other informants from widely separated 
counties. General: Knortz, 48 (stolen) — South Carolina: Fitchett, 
360 (stolen [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1778; No. 
1779 (stolen) ; No. 1800 (two potatoes) ; No. 1801 (stolen) — West 
Virginia: Musick, 4, No. la — Kentucky: Shearin, 320; Thomas, No. 
1316 (a potato filled with tacks) — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 37; 
Redfield, No. 120 (scrape an Irish potato and make a poultice) ; Rogers, 
30 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 436 — Florida: Hauptmann, 25 (Spanish) 
— Labrador and Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 1145 — New- 
foundland: Bergen, Aniina), No. 1147 (a potato perforatecl and worn 
on the finger like a ring) ; Patterson, 286 — New York: Relihan, 
Remedies, 167 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1740 (carry three 
potatoes in your pants pocket [German]); No. 1754 (German); 



262 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

JAFL X (1879), 79; Phillips, 163, No. 8 — Ohio: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 1146 — Indiana: Brewster, Specimens, 362 f . ; Halpert, 
Ciires, S (a cure which draws poison out of the system) — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 152; Hyatt, No. 5371 (keep three small potatoes in your 
pocket) ; No. 5372 (cut a potato in two and wear a half on each knee) ; 
Norlin, 204, No. 4 (carry a potato in your pocket which will draw the 
water from your joints); Smith i, 58; 11, 69, No. 17 (carry a few 
potatoes in your pocket) — Osarks: Randolph, 152 — Texas: Woodhull, 
65 — Nebraska, Black, 21, No. 19; No. 22 (boil potatoes and then soak 
the feet in the hot water) ; Erickson, 151, No. 11 — Kansas: Davenport, 
132 — New Mexico: Moya, 50 (Spanish) — California: Dresslar, 117, 
116 (stolen) ; Loomis, Medicine, 119 (use hot water in which potatoes 
have been boiled as a hot wash before retiring) — Washington: Tacoma, 
8 (stolen) ; ibid, (also potato worn as a ring). Cf. Nos. 2018 fT., below. 

Choice Notes, 7; Radford, 199. For stolen potatoes in the cure of 

boils, see No. 937, above. 

2018 Carry an old raw potato in pocket to cure rheumatism. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham, and Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, 
Wayne county. Maryland: Bullock, 10 — Kentucky: Stuart, 9 — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 321 — Nezv York: Gardner, No. 43 — Indiana: 
Brewster, Cures, 38, No. 3 — Texas: Turner, 167 — Nebraska: Nebraska 

Proverbs 11, 7. Black, Folk-Medicine, 182; Foster, 60; Radford, 192 f. ; 

HDA IV, 1025; Storaker, Sygdom, No. 251. 

2019 To keep off rheumatism, carry a frozen potato, 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

2020 A cure for rheumatism is to steal a potato, and to put it 
in the pocket which is over the rheumatic hip; the rheumatism 
will leave. 

Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham county. 

2021 A potato carried in the right-hand pants pocket will cure 
rheumatism. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, 361 (a potato carried in the left 
pocket [Negro]). 

2022 A Pasquotank remedy for rheumatism is to take an Irish 
potato as large as you can hold between your teeth, and carry 
the potato in your left pant's pocket until it petrifies. Then you 
will be absolutely cured of rheumatism. 

N. L. Stack, Mars Hill, Madison county. North Carolina: Hoke, 117 
(a potato carried in the pocket constantly will cure rheumatism by absorp- 
tion ; it all goes into the potato, which becomes hard and knotty) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1314 (if the potato hardens it will cure the ail- 
ment; if^ however, it rots, it will do no good) — Ontario: Wintemberg, 
Oxford, No. 25 (actual case cited of a hardened potato) — New Eng- 
land: Johnson, What They Say, 75 — loiva: Stout, No. 886 — Okla- 
homa: Smith, Animals, 73; Smith, Folk Cures, 81 — Texas: Hatfield, 
158 (if the rheumatism goes into the potato it will get hard; if the potato 
gets soft, it is doing no good) — Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 21 (bind the 
potato upon the painful surface, after a while the potato will become hard 
as wood — then put on a fresh potato). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 263 

2023 For rheumatism, carry a potato in the pocket until it 
withers (becomes dry and hard). 

Sue Hull (Indiana), Burns, and an anonymous informant. Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5369 (just as soon as you put a peeled potato in your pocket, 
your rheumatism will begin to disappear ; and by the time the potato 
dries up, the rheumatism will be gone) ; No. 5370 (if the potato [in 
your pocket] rots, your rheumatism will leave; but if it becomes hard, 
the remedy will be ineffective) ; Wheeler, 65 — Texas: Bogusch, 123 
(your rheumatism will leave as soon as the potato shrivels up) — 
Idaho: Lore, 214. 

2024 Parsley tea is used for rheumatism. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

2025 Take a herb named ratsvane [ratsbane] and put it in 
whiskey, and drink it. This is for rheumatism. 

Green Collection, and an anonymous informant. 

2026 For rheumatism, apply a poultice made from fresh red 
oak bark boiled, and mixed with corn meal. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, 364 (a bath in red oak bark tea 
[Negro]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5355 (drink red oak bark tea). 

2027 To cure rheumatism, drink sassafras tea. 

Anonymous. Cf. South: Puckett, 364 (a bath in white sassafras root 
tea [Negro]) — West Virginia: WVF i, No. i, [p. 15], No. 3a (sassa- 
fras roots are good for rheumatism). 

2028 Drink a tea made of shave grass to cure rheumatism. 
Anonymous. 

2029 Alcohol, goose grease, and olive oil are good for rheuma- 
tism. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63. 

2030 If you carry a piece of alum in your pocket it will prevent 
and cure rheumatism. 

Valeria Johnson Howard, Roseboro, Sampson county, and Julian P. Boyd. 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1294 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5316; No. 5317 
(sleep on a sock that contains powdered alum). 

2031 Alum, pepper, and vinegar are good for the rheumatism, 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
159 (hot salt water and vinegar [German]). 

2032 A teaspoon of soda three times a day will cure rheuma- 
tism. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Texas: Woodhull, 65 — Nebraska: 
Black, 20, No. 6. 



264 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2033 To cure rheumatism, make a tea with soot from the chim- 
ney, and take daily. 

Lucille Alassey, Durham county. Cf. HDA ix, Suppl., 288 (a piece of 
cloth placed on the rheumatic part and then placed in the chimney). 

2034 Coal oil (kerosene) is rubbed on the legs of the patient 
as a cure for rheumatism. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 197 

— Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 38, No. 5 (bathe with a mixture of 
kerosene and neatsfoot oil) — Texas: Woodhull, 65 (with an eggshell 
for a measuring cup, measure beaten egg yolks, turpentine, coal oil, 
vinegar, and salt) — New Mexico: Moya, 70 (a mixture of lard and coal 
oil [Spanish]) — California: Loomis, Medicine, 119. 

2035 Red flannel underclothes will prevent rheumatism. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. General: Knortz, 48 (red flannel shirt) 

— South: Puckett, 287, 221, 362 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1730 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 149 — Illinois: Allison, No. 
151 — Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 15 (wear red flannels to cure rheuma- 
tism; no other color will work) — New Mexico: Moya, 72, No. 90 
(Spanish) — California: Dresslar, 112 (red flannel shirt). Cf. Nos. 

2036 ff., 2042, 2046, below. 

2036 To cure rheuniatism, wear red flannel around the inflamed 
place. 

Louise F. Watkins, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and three other informants 
from Bladen and Alexander counties. Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 15 
(bind with ringlets of red flannel) — Tennessee: Carter, 4 (ringlets of 
red flannel about the affected parts) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 445 — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 278 (the flannel may be aired, but not washed; 
when it is unfit for further use, a fresh piece may be applied) — 
California: Bushnell, No. 10. 

2037 Tie a red strip of flannel around the waist (arm) to cure 
rheumatism. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. South: Puckett, 288, 362 (red 
flannel bands, strips around the wrist; see photograph facing p. 314 
[Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1306 (on the wrist) — Missis- 
sippi: Hudson, 152, No. 2 (around the rheumatic knee) — Michigan: 
Dorson, 116 (waist) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5339 (wrist) ; No. 5340 ("I 
always take a strip of red flannel about three inches wide and wrap 

around my legs for the rheumatism"). Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld ir, 

283 (flannel stroked with [red] sealing wax). 

2038 For rheumatism, bandage the swollen part with a red 
woolen rag. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Illinois: Norlin, 204, No. 7 (put live wool in 
your shoe) — Iowa: Stout, No. 882 (apply wool that has not been 
washed) — Idaho: Lore, 214. 

2039 To cure rheumatism, place hot towels on the afflicted part. 
Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Allison, No. 174 (soak feet in hot water). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 265 

2040 To cure rheumatism, go to a hole of water that flows 
freely, preferably from a spring, and bathe nine mornings. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Osarks: Randolph, 133 (a bath 
in a flowing stream before daybreak on Easter morning will relieve the 
most stubborn case of rheumatism). Radford, 200. 

2041 To keep off rheumatism, wear a leather band (string) 
around the wrist. 

Helen Fraser Smith. "I have often noticed the Negroes around our 
farm wearing a band of leather around their wrists." South: Puckett, 
313 f. (Negro); ibid, (also worn about waist and ankle [Negro]) — 
Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 812 (Negro) ; Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1847; ibid, (also around the waist) — Georgia: Steiner, No. 78 (a 
leather string). Cf. No. 2043, below. 

2042 To cure rheumatism, wear a red band around the wrist. 
Constance Patten, Greensboro. Cf. No. 2046, below. 

2043 A common custom among Negroes is to wear a leather 
strap about the wrist as a cure for rheumatism. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Puckett, 314 (to relieve, wear a leather 
strap around the wrist, ankle, or waist). Cf. No. 2041, above. 

2044 For rheumatism in the wrists, a band of cork worn around 
them will cure them. 

Roberta Elizabeth Pridgen, Lenoir county. Cf. HDA viii, 1305. 

2045 Rope yarn is worn around the wrists and ankles for rheu- 
matism. 

Anonymous. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1327 (wool string around the 
ankle) ; No. 1326 (string of yarn around the neck) — Tennessee: 
Rogers, 30 (woolen string around the waist) ; ibid, (carrying a piece 
of yarn in the pocket) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 161 (blue woolen 
yarn around rheumatic limbs [German]) — Michigan: Dorson, 116 (red 
yarn around wrists) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 5 (a woolen string 
around the neck, but usually around the ankle) ; ibid, (white yarn around 
the leg below the knee). Cf. No. 2037, above. 

2046 For rheumatism, tie a red string around the toe. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1320 
— New England: Johnson, What They Say, 77 (around the neck) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5341 (red flannel string around the knee) — 
Washington: Tacoma, 18 (around neck). Cf. Nos. 2037, 2045, above. 

2047 ^Vear string wet with turpentine around the waist to cure 
rheumatism. 

Mrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. Cf. South Carolina: 
Bryant 11, 138, No. 64 (rub turpentine on the afflicted part) — Tennessee : 
Rogers, 22 (a few drops of turpentine in the bottom of one's shoes) — 
Mississipiyi: Hudson, 152, No. i (dip an old string in bacon grease and 
tie around the knee) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 160 (smear with 



266 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

a mixture of one quart of turpentine and one pint of Barbadoes tar 
[German]) — Iowa: Stout, No. 891 (rub turpentine on the afflicted 
part). 

2048 Wear a tarred string around your waist to cure rheuma- 
tism. 

Anonymous. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1847 (tarred rope around 
the wrist and waist). 

2049 To cure rheumatism, wear paper in your pocket until it 
turns to stone. 

Anonymous. Cf. Texas: Woodhull, 65 (paper sack around the neck) — 
Nebraska: Black, 20, No. 7 (same as previous item). 

2050 For rheumatism, carry a horseshoe nail in the pocket. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). New York: Bergen, Current, No. 821; Knortz, 55. 

2051 A horseshoe nail made into a ring will prevent rheuma- 
tism. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1308 — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 442 (ring made of a bent nail) — New York: Relihan, Remedies, 
167 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 159 (German) ; Fogel, No. 1745 
(German) ; No. 1752 (find a horseshoe containing eight nails, and have a 
ring made of one of these nails [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5347 
(horseshoe nail ring worn on the little finger) — Nebraska: Black, 21, 
No. 29 — Idaho: Lore, 214 (make a ring of a horseshoe nail and wear on 
your finger). Cf. Nos. 2054 flf., below. 

2052 For rheumatism, wear copper wire around the affected 
parts. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1302 

— Tennessee: Frazier, 36, No. 49 (wrist) ; Rogers, 30 (wrist) — 
Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 38, No. 4 (wrist) ; Halpert, Cures, 5 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5331 (wrist) ; No. 5332 (make two bracelets of fine 
copper wire, and wear one around the ankle and one around the wrist) 

— Iowa: Stout, No. 884 (wrist) — Arkansas: Randolph, 152 (long 
pieces of copper wire around men's ankles under their socks). [In the 
early days telegraph companies had considerable difficulty with hillfolk 
who cut pieces of telegraph wire for this purpose.] — Calijornia: 
Bushnell, No. 10 (ankles). 

2053 For rheumatism, wear bracelets of brass or copper wire 
about the wrist or ankle. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Kentucky: Stuart, 9 (wrap copper 
wires around arms and legs) — Mississippi: Puckett, 361 (bracelets of 
copper or brass worn about the wrists or ankles [Negro]) — Indiana: 
Halpert, Cures, 5 (copper band on the wrist) — Illinois: Allison, No. 
153 (copper bracelet) ; Hyatt, No. 5330 (copper band on the afifected 
place) — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk Cures, 81 (copper bands about the 
wrists and ankles) — Neiu Mexico: Baylor, 150, No. 18 (copper 
bracelets on the wrists [Spanish]) ; Curtin, 190 (copper bracelets) ; 
Moya, 49 (copper bracelets [Spanish]) ; ibid, (copper bands around the 
knees [Spanish]) — Idaho: Lore, 214. 



supi:rstitions: body, folk mkdicine 267 

2054 A metal ring worn on the finger will cure rheumatism. 

Ethel Hicks Buflfaloe, Oxford, Granville county. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1868 — Texasj Woodhull, 65 (rings of lead or some base 
metal; also, rings resembling gold, with silver set in the middle). Cf. 
Nos. 2055, 2056 flf., 2062, below. 

2055 There is a notion that a galvanic ring, as it is called, when 
worn on the finger, will cure rheumatism. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

2056 The old black mammies used to wear a brass ring on one 
finger to keep off rheumatism. 

Ellerbe Powe, Jr., Durham county ; two other informants from Durham 
and Wayne counties; and an anonymous informant. South: Puckett, 
361 (Negro) — Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 810; Whitney-Bullock, 
No. 1864 — Alabama: Bergen, Current, No. 807 — Massachusetts: Ber- 
gen, Current, No. 808; Knortz, 55 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1746 
(German) — Indiana: Busse, 15, No. 10 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5319 
(cure rheumatism by wearing a brass ring; some say that you must not 
wear a gold ring at the same time) ; Norlin, 204, No. 9; No. 9a (on the 
little finger) ; Wheeler, 65 (on the little finger of the left hand) — 
0::arks: Randolph, 152 — Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 26 (a ring made 

of brass on your little finger) — California: Bushnell, No. 10. 

Radford, 68. Cf. Nos. 773, 1237, 1304, 1621, above, 2283 fif., below. 

2057 A brass ring worn on the right hand will cure rheuma- 
tism. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. No. 2056, above. 

2058 Wear a brass ring around the forefinger to cure rheuma- 
tism. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Nos. 2056 f., above. 

2059 To cure rheumatism in the hands, wear a brass ring on 
the middle finger. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1298 (middle finger of the left hand) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5320 (same 
as previous item). 

2060 To cure rheumatism wear a brass ring on the fourth 
finger. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. 
California: Dresslar, 116 (ring finger). 

2061 A brass ring worn on the left thumb will cure rheumatism. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Price, 31 ; Thomas, 
No. 1297. 

2062 A lead or pewter ring worn on the finger keeps ofif rheu- 
matism. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1310 (lead) — lozva: Stout, 
No. 887 (lead [Norwegian]) — California: Bushnell, No. 10 (lead). 



268 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2063 Brass earrings are thought by Negroes to keep away 
rheumatism. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Puckett, 361; ibid, (also brass) — Ala- 
bama: Bergen, Current, No. 807 — Massachusetts: Knortz, 55 (Negro). 

2064 To cure rheumatism, wear copper in your shoe. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 21, No. 24 (copper plates in your 
shoe). Cf. No. 2068, below. HDA v, 838. 

2065 To cure rheumatism, wear tin in your shoe. 

Anonymous. 

2066 To cure rheumatism, Negroes wear money around their 
ankles. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. South: Puckett, 362 
(a coin, especially a dime; see photograph facing p. 314 [Negro]) — 
South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (dime [Negro]) — Louisiana: Roberts, 
No. 443 (dime) — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk Cures, 81 (dimes are best for 
this purpose because they are nearest pure silver). Cf. Nos. 2067 f., 
below. 

2067 Place a half dollar in the heel of your shoe, and it will 
prevent rheumatism. 

Green Collection. Cf. No. 2068, below. 

2068 To cure rheumatism, put a penny in the toe of each shoe. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. South: Puckett, 362 (Negro) — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, No. 1742 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5359 — 

Nebraska: Erickson, 151, No. 14 (a penny in the shoe). HDA vii, 

1342. 

2069 For rheumatism, every evening when taking off the shoes, 
place them upside down. 

Anonymous. Cf. General: Knortz, 48 (put one shoe in the other and 
place them under the bed on retiring) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1317 
(cross your shoes at night) ; No. 1318 (place your shoes side by side 
under the bed at night) — Tennessee : Frazier, 36, No. 47 (pull off shoes, 
turn tops in and place under the bed without speaking to anyone for 
the remainder of the night) ; Rogers, 30; ibid., 30 f. (place shoes upside 
down on the bottom of an upturned dishpan, without speaking to anyone 
before going to bed) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 89 f., No. 24 — 
California: Dresslar, 114; ibid, (put your shoes under the edge of the bed 
at night) ; 115 (insert the toe of one shoe into the mouth of the other; 
then under the bed). McCartney, 112 (shoes in form of a cross). 

2070 A conjuration cure for rheumatic swelling: In Mont- 
gomery County, Sara McLean, an old Scotch woman, has this 
method. The afflicted person must come when the moon is new. 
She looks at the moon and says, "What I see I know will in- 
crease, what I feel I hope will decrease." This is not to be told 
to anybody. Other words followed in Scotch. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 269 

2071 To get rid of rheumatism : "You go in de lot an' go up to 
fence. Den put you' breas' on it and say, 'I lef you here' three 
times, den you go way, and don't you never come back dere no 
more." 

Sue Hull (Indiana). French Canada: Bergen, Current, No. 822. 

2072 Rheumatism is cured by touch at the hands of mountain 
"medicine men" or practitioners, as follows : "The doctor ap- 
proaches and lays both hands, palms downward, upon the breast 
of the sick man. He then draws his hands slowly down along 
the body of the patient and repeats the operation until he feels 
the disease enter at the tips of his own fingers, then mount 
gradually into his arms, and so pass into his body. At first, he 
can shake ofif the disease current from his fingers, as one shakes 
drops of water from the hand, but as it becomes stronger it fills 
his whole body and thrills every nerve, until at last he can en- 
dure it no longer, but must rush out of the house to the nearest 
stream, and there he washes ofif the deadly influence by repeated 
ablutions." 

James Mooney. 

Rickets 

2073 Fo'' rickets, take cod liver oil and stay out in the sunshine. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 336, above. 

2074 To cure rickets, give the patient bone and lime water to 
drink, and live in the open air. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

2075 Sarsaparilla and "licker" make the best tonic for puny 
ones. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. 

2076 To cure rickets, bathe in cold water. 

Anonymous. 

2077 To cure rickets, wash your feet. 
Anonymous. 

Ringworm 

2078 For ringworm, buttermilk and salt are combined and 
placed upon the diseased part of the body. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 197. 

2079 To cure a ringw^orm, boil houseleek plant, strain and mix 
with lard. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 



2/0 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2080 Green walnut hull will cure ringworm, or ring-around. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4465 — Nebraska: Black, 36, 
No. 51 (a green walnut skin). 

2081 Walnut juice is good for ring-around. 

Green Collection. Illinois: Allison, No. 95 — Iowa: Stout, No. 907 — 
Ozarks: Randolph, no — Texas: Turner, 169. 

2082 A sure cure for ringworm is to get rain water out of an 
old rotten stump. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

2083 For ringworm, apply a mixture of olive oil and sulphur. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 214. 

2084 To cure ringworm, burn a cotton rag on an ax or flatiron, 
then rub the resultant moisture on the affected parts. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 279 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 184 (take linen or muslin 
rags and burn them on the blade of an ax; on blowing away the ashes a 
greasy substance will be found upon the blade — rub this in well [Ger- 
man!) Laval, 23, No, 2 (burn a piece of paper or a rag on the metal 

blade of an ax). 

2085 To cure a ringworm, rub around it nine times with a 
thimble. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1330 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4461 (seven times). 

2086 For ringworm, press around it with a silver thimble. 
Anonymous. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 36, No. 47 (plain thimble). 

2087 Press a wedding ring around the ringworm so as to make 
the print. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Michigan: Dorson, 160 (ring- 
worm cured by taking the wedding ring out into the moonlight) — 
Indiana: Busse, 14 (rubbing mentioned, but not the print) ; 15, No. il 
(same as preceding). 

2088 For ringworm, wash pennies in vinegar and apply vinegar 
to the affected parts. 

Anonymous. Illinois: Allison, No. 108 (put a penny soaked in vinegar 
on a ringworm) — loiva: Stout, No. 994 (soak any copper thing in 
vinegar and rub it on the [ringworm] infection). 

2089 To remove worms [ringworms?] rub a pencil over them, 
and throw the pencil behind you at the forks of the road. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 271 

Rocky Mountain Fever 

2090 Sagebrush tea is said to be excellent in the treatment of 

Rocky Mountain fever. It is a bitter brew to take, so possibly 
a part of its potency lies in the terrible taste. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). 

Scarlet Fever 

2091 If you kiss a mule on the nose, you will never have scarlet 
fever. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

Scurvy 

2092 For scurvy, apply uncooked potatoes sliced and soaked in 
vinegar. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 214. 

2093 For scurvy, use a mixture of equal parts of charcoal and 
salt. 

Anonymous. 

Seasickness 

2094 Wearing brown paper on the chest will cure seasickness. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maryland: Bergen: Current, No. 805; Knortz, 
55; Whitney-Bullock, No. 1890; No. 1724 (letter paper or newspaper 
worn on the chest) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 805 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5760 (keep a piece of writing paper against the 
pit of the stomach) — California: Bushnell, No. 14 (paper bag inside the 
clothing; a piece of writing paper; a newspaper). Of. No. 2386, below 
(train sickness). 

2095 A red string tied about the waist cures seasickness. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 815; Knortz, 

55- 

Shingles 

2096 To cure shingles, bathe parts in the warm blood of a 
fresh-killed black cat. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county, and an anonymous 
informant. " 'Pappy's a huntin' a black cat. Sallie Ann's got the 
shingles,' was an explanation that I shall always remember. The shingles 
was a particularly vicious looking case and covered one side of poor 
Sallie Ann's neck and shoulder. Thar hain't nothin'U kyore shingles 
like w'arm blood from a fraish killed black cat. We can't find no cat. 
We kilt a black chicken yistiddy and let hit bleed on her, but them 
shingles has went so fur hi'll pintly take a cat to fetch 'em.' 

"We were standing looking at the little girl and her mother went 
on: 'Shingles is a traveling duzease,' she told me. 'These is a movin' 
powerful fast. Ef they go on 'round her naick they'll kill her shore. 
They've went a pretty good piece since yistiddy.' 



272 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

"The look of stark terror in little Sallie Ann's eyes moved me. 'Have 
you had a doctor?' I asked her. ' 'Tain't no use to have no doctor. 
I know jest as good what to do as ary doctor in Nawth Car'Hner. My 
sister's gal got shingles onct and hit uz on her arm. They sent fur a 
doctor and he put some black thick truck on hit. 'Twant nary a thing but 
dried cat's blood. Hit kyored them shinglezies up too. The doctor let 
on like hit was some funny medicine, but my sister knowed cat's blood 
when she seed hit, and she knowed by the kyore too. Doctors don't 
tell whar they get their medicines, but I've heard folk say that sang 
roots, slippery ellum and all the yarbs that doctor wimmen uses is the 
same stuff that store doctors use.'" South: Puckett, 374 (Negro); 
ibid, (the blood should be put on a lump of sugar and swallowed 
[Negro]) — West Virginia: Musick, 5, No. 7 — Kentucky: Kentucky 
Folk-Lore and Poetry Magazine i, No. i (April 1926), 16; Rainey, 14 — 
Maine: Bergen, Animal, No. 763 — Indiana: Brewster, Ciires, 38 (the 
warm body should be applied directly to the breast of the patient) ; 
Brewster, Specimens, 363 (the still-warm body of the cat should be applied 
directly to the breast of the patient) — Illinois: Allison, No. 119 (kill a 
black cat, and while the blood is dripping, put it on anyone that has 
the shingles) — Missouri: Randolph, 147 — Kansas: Davenport, 132. 
Black, Folk-Medicine, 151 ; Foster, 62. 

2097 Cut off a black cat's tail, rub with the bloody end for 
shingles. 

The Misses Holeman, Durham county; Sue Hull (Indiana); and two 
informants from Orange and Durham counties. "A colored cook in 
Washington was told that if she would cut off the tail of a black cat 
and rub the end of said tail on her shingles it would cure her. This 
was done and it was affirmed that the woman began immediately to get 
well." Eastern and Central States: Bergen, Animal, No. 764 (apply the 
freshly removed skin of a cat to the affected surface) : South: Puckett, 
374 (Negro) — Maryland: Bergen, Animal, No. 762 (snip off the 
end of a black cat's tail; catch a few drops of blood on a lump of sugar, 
and swallow it to cure shingles [Negro]) ; Whitney-Bullock, No. 1738 — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1332 (rub the sores with blood obtained from 
cutting off a black cat's tail ; they will never meet) ; No. 1333 (nail 
a black cat's tail against a door) — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 17 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 430 (blood from the tail of a black cat; no men- 
tion of rubbing) ; Nova Scotia: Creighton, 96, No. 71 (pure black cat) 
— Massachusetts: Knortz, 128 (the skin of a black cat is placed on 
the shingles) — Nezv York: Gardner, No. 48 (blood drawn from cut- 
ting the tail of a black cat) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 60 (sprink- 
ling with the blood from the amputated tail of a black cat [German]) ; 
White, 79 (same as the previous item [German]) — Indiana: Busse, 
16, No. 22 — Illinois: Fox, 5 (slice off the tip of a black cat's tail, and 
using the portion still attached to the cat as a brush, paint the ulcers 
with feline blood) — Iowa: Stout, No. 951 (skin a black cat and bind 
the skin to the affected parts). Black, Folk-Medicine, 116, 151; Rad- 
ford, 40. 

2098 The blood of a fresh chicken will cure shingles. 

Green Collection. Cf. Maine and Ohio: Bergen, Animal, No. 771 (a liv- 
ing fowl, cut open and applied to the diseased surface will cure the 
shingles). 

2099 For shingles, use the blood of a black chicken. 

Green Collection. West Virginia: Musick, 5, No. 7 — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1334 — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 38; Brewster, Speci- 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 273 

mens, 363 (the still-warm body of the [black] hen should be applied 
directly to tlie breast of the patient) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5469 (rub 
the blood of a black hen all over your body) ; Smith i, 58 — Arkansas: 
Randolph, 147 (cut off the head of a black chicken and smear the blood 
thickly over the affected parts ; wrap the patient in sheets and let 
the whole mess dry, and next morning the shingles will be gone). 

2100 Burn a hickory log and make a poultice of the ashes for 
shingles. 

Green Collection. 

Shot Wounds 

2 1 01 If a person is shot through his chest, you have to blow a 
silk handkerchief through his chest. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

Sideache 

2102 To cure sideache, tie a rattlesnake's rattles on a string and 
wear it around the neck. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. 

2103 To cure a pain in the side while running, keep a small 
stone under the tongue. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1870 (pebble) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 100 (One boy 
said : "I believe I could run all day, and not get tired, if I could hold 
a pebble under my tongue") ; Bergen, et at., 108. 

2104 If one having a pain in his side will stoop down and spit 
under a rock, placing the rock back where it was, the pain will 
vanish. 

Mary Olivia Pruette, Charlotte, Mecklenburg county ; Gertrude Allen 
Vaught, Alexander county; and Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1335 (spit on the bottom of a stone, put it back in its 
place, and repeat rapidly an indefinite number of times, until the pain 
leaves your side: "Pain, get off my side; pain, get off my side") ; Stuart, 
9 — Ontario: Bergen, Animal, No. 99; Wintemberg, German 11, 88; 
Wintemberg, Grey, No. 151 (spit on the under side of the stone and let 
it drop back into place) ; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 13 — New England: 
Johnson, Superstitions, 164 — Maine: Bergen, Aiiimal, No. 99 (spitting 
on under surface of the rock) — Nciv York: Gardner No. 49; Relihan, 
Remedies, 168 — Pennsyh'ania: Bergen, Animal, No. 99; Fogel, No, 
1449 (pick up a stone, spit on the spot and replace the stone, saying: 
"Take away my stitching pain," at the same time holding the breath. 
This should be done three times.) — Ohio: Bergen, Animal, No. 99 — 
Illinois: Smith 11, 69, No. 14 (spit under a rock and the pain will go 
to the rock) ; Wheeler, 65 — lozva: Stout, No. 996 — Ozarks: Randolph, 
Osark, 5 — Texas: Woodhull, 61 — Midwest: Odell, 221 f.. No. 9 — 
Nebraska: Black, 37, No. 88 — California: Dresslar, iii. 

2105 To cure pain in the side caused from running, spit on a 
rock three times and then put it down. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 167 
(pick up a stone, spit once or thrice on the under side and replace the 



274 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Stone as it was, or throw it backwards over the shoulder) ; ibid, (pick 
up a stone, spit on the spot where it lay and say, "Take away my 
stitching pain," at the same time holding the breath. This was to be 
done three times) ; Fogel, No. 1475; Grumbine, 277 f. — Indiana: Hal- 
pert, Cures, 5 (if you are walking down the road and your side begins to 
hurt you, turn over three rocks, spit on them, and turn them back over, 
and the pain will leave). [This dates from 1891 (Greene county)]. 

2106 A pain in the side caused by long or rapid walking can 
be stopped by spitting under a flint rock. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafiftown, Forsyth county. 

2107 For pains in the side, spit under a rock and run away 
without looking back. 

Green Collection, and two other informants from eastern and central 
counties. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 22 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Ger- 
man I, 47 (pebble) ; Wintemberg, German 11, 88 — Ozarks: Randolph, 
"^ZZ (pick up a flat rock, spit under it, and put the rock back exactly 
where you found it. Some say you must walk away without looking back ; 
if you ever see that rock again and recognize it, the sideache will return) . 

Sight 

2108 Sailors wear gold earrings to strengthen their sight. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Nos. 1384 f., above. 

Skin Diseases 

2109 Use buttermilk to whiten the skin. 

Green Collection. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 63 (German) ; Fogel, 
No. 1468 (whey [German]) — Illinois: Allison, No. 140; Hyatt, No. 
3854; Smith II, 69, No. 18 (make a rubbing ointment by soaking tansy 
leaves in buttermilk for a few days) — Osarks: Randolph, 162 (dew and 
buttermilk, also honey and buttermilk, for roughened skin) ; Wilson, 

Folk Beliefs. 162 (honey and buttermilk for skin diseases). HDA I, 

1759 (s.v. "Butter") ; Wessman, 6 (for a fine complexion). 

21 10 To clear the skin, drink milk in which you have boiled 
buckshot. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

21 1 1 For skin diseases use bull nettle root. 

Anonymous. Osarks: Randolph, 109-110. Cf. Nos. 1180 fY., above. 

21 12 Tea from pokeberry root will cure skin diseases. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5025 (poke root tea). Cf. 
Nos. 1 1 80 fT., above. 

21 13 "Shoemake" [sumac] is used for skin poison. 
Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 11 80 fif., above. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 275 

21 14 The first water that falls in June is supposed to cure all 
skin diseases, and "is dretful good for the insides." 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 53, Massachusetts: Bergen, 

Current, No. 842 — Ozarks: Randolph, 162. Cf. Black, Folk-Medicine, 

132-133; HDA III, 1582 (s.v. "Haut"). 

Smallpox 

21 15 A bag of asafetida worn around the neck will ward oflF 
smallpox. 

Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. South: Puckett, 392 — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 478 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 97 (carried on the 
person [German]) ; Fogel, No. 1403 (carried in the pocket [German]) — 
Texas: Turner, 169 — Nebraska: Black, 42, No. 33. 

21 16 Cut a small piece from the tongue of a young heifer be- 
tween the age of two and three years. Rub the smallpox sores 
while the piece of tongue is warm. Then throw it over your 
head three times, then give it to a black cat to eat, and the small- 
pox will be cured. 

Green Collection. 

211 7 Carry an onion in your pocket to keep off smallpox. 

Marie Harper, Durham county, and Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery 
county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1339 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
97 (carried on the person ; it was supposed to absorb the disease [Ger- 
man]); Fogel, No. 1402 (German). HDA ix, 969. 

21 18 For smallpox, rub affected parts with onion. 

Anonymous. 

21 19 Sweet oil and lemon juice is good for smallpox; it helps 
a lot for scars. 

Julia McRae. 

2120 For smallpox, take frequent doses of brandy in which 
saltpeter has been dissolved. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 215. 

2121 The only reliable cure for smallpox in those good old 
pre- vaccination days was taking a steam bath and then jumping 
into a pool of ice cold water. 

George P.Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, n.d. 

Snake Bite 

2122 If the first snake seen in the summer is killed, the person 
who kills the snake will not be bitten by a snake that whole 
summer. 

R. B. Edwards, Belhaven, Beaufort county. Cf. Mississipf^i: Clark, 144 
(one will not be bothered by other snakes) — New Hampshire, JAFL 



276 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

II (1889), 293 (the person will have good luck in killing others met with 
during the year) — Texas: WF xv (1956), 3, No. 32 (snakes will not 
bother you the rest of the year). Cf. 7295, below. 

2123 To cure snake bite, bind the place tightly up above the 
bite. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

2124 To cure snake bite: If no wound is in the mouth, suck 
out the poison and spit it out, cauterize, cut so as to make the 
place bleed freely. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and three other in- 
formants from central and western counties. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 
137, No. 31 — Mississippi: Clark, 141 (the person sucking out the venom 
should not be a blue-gummed Negro, for the disaster will be complete 
in such a case) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4516 — Midwest: Odell, 221, No. 
10 — Nebraska: Black 32, No. 5; Pound, 175. 

2125 If a person is bitten by a snake, and another wants to suck 
the poison out of the wound, he must first chew some tobacco ; 
then the poison will not hurt him. 

Green Collection. South: Cf. Puckett, 378 (This sucking should be done 
only by a person with red gums [the bite of a blue-gummed Negro is 
considered almost as poisonous as a snake bite itself] who must chew a 
bit of tobacco before he starts sucking [Negro]). 

2126 For snake bites, cut a mark across the place in the shape 
of a cross, then suck the place to remove the poison. 

Green Collection, and Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

2127 To cure snake bite, burn the bite with a red hot iron. 
Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

2128 Sweet milk, taken internally, is good for snake bite. 

Green Collection. Milk is boiled with various plants and herbs and 
taken internally, as follows: prairie or buffalo gourd (Oklahoma: Smith, 
Animals, 76; Smith, Folk Cures, 84), masterwort (Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 201), plantain (Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 201 — 
Nebraska: Pound, 168, n. 4), rattlesnake master (Tennessee: McGlasson, 
16, No. 19 [applied externally] — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 38), snake- 
weed (Ocarks: Randolph, 102). In another medical practice the bitten 
member is buried in the earth, which is then soaked with sweet milk : 
Texas: Woodhull, 63 — Nebraska: Black, 2>2), No. 16; Pound, 167. 

2129 To cure snake bite, boil some new milk with a shoestring 
in it, and then drink. 

Anonymous. 

2130 Snake bites are treated by applying a chicken freshly 
ripped open to the bite. The chicken flesh will turn green with 
poison. 

Green Collection, Julian P. Boyd, and three other informants from eastern 
and central counties. In the following examples reference will be made 
to the bowl's turning "dark" or "green" ; otherwise this feature of 



superstitions: isody, folk medicine 277 

"drawing out the poison" is not indicated: South: Puckett, 378 (flesh 
turns dark) — Virginia: Martin, No. 10 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1342 — Mississippi: Clark, 141 (flesh turns dark) — Ontario: Wintcm- 
berg. Roebuck, 154, No. 7 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 202 (place 
the vent of a live chicken upon the wound ; it is supposed that this has the 
power of extracting the venom, but it will kill the chicken [German]) ; 
Rupp, 251, No. I (German) — Illinois: Bergen, Animal, No. 775; Fox, 
5; Hyatt, No. 4519; No. 4520 (kill the chicken and put it on while it is 
still kicking) ; No. 4518 (take a wing right off a live chicken, put it 
on the bite, and it will draw out all the poison) — Michigan: Bergen, 
Ani)nal. No. 774 (apply to the bite the raw and bleeding surface of the 
flesh of a fowl that has been stunned) ; No. 775 — Missouri: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 775 — Texas: Woodhull, 62 (just kill a chicken and tear it 
open and put it over the bite, and in a few minutes the chicken will 
all be green) ; 64 — Nebraska: Black, 32, No. 2 (before long the chicken 
will be all green from the poison which has been drawn out) ; Pound, 
167 (flesh turns green; it takes nearly a dozen chickens to draw all 

the poison from the wound). Black, Folk-Medicine, 45-46, 158; 

Radford, 12, 69. 

21 3 1 For snake bite, cut a black hen open and bind it to the 
bite. 

Elizabeth Sutton, Durham county, and anonymous. "Whenever one of 
the children v.-as bitten, my grandmother immediately caught a black 
chicken, cut off its head, ripped it open and put the bitten part against the 
warm insides of the chicken. After a while the chicken would become 
green, signifying that the poison was being drawn out." South: Puckett, 
37^ — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4521. 

2132 Take the heart of a chicken and place it v^here the snake 
has bitten. This will drive out the poison. 

Green Collection. 

2133 To cure snake bite, put as much salt as the yolk of an egg 
will dissolve, and bind this to the bite. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. California: Loomis, Medicine, 119 
(the salve of a yolk of an egg, stiffened by the addition of salt). 

2134 Take a live frog, cut it open, and bind it to the bitten 
place, and it will draw the poison out of a snake bite. 

Julian P. Boyd; Constance Patten, Greensboro; and an anonymous in- 
formant. Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 16, No. 18; O'Dell, Doctor, No. 
9 (toad-frog) ; O'Dell, Superstitions, 4 (toad-frog) — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1542 (catch a toad and tie it on the wound; if the toad dies, 
repeat the operation until the toad [successive toads?] remains alive 
[German]) — Nebraska: Pound, 173, n. 5 (toad). Cf. No. 2148, below. 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 436 f. 

2135 For rattlesnake bites the gall of an eagle is a dependable 
remedy. 

Anonymous. 

2136 Mouse flesh is used as a cure for rattlesnake bites. 
Anonymous. 



2/5 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2137 Place fat pork over a snake bite. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1345 (cured by salt and fresh 
pork). 

2138 The "doff dust" of a rattlesnake will poison you. 
Green Collection. 

2139 A dried snake's skin is used as a protection against snake 
bites. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county, and Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, 
Wayne county. Cf. Ozarks: Randolph, 0::ark, 17 (touch a cast-oflf 
snake skin, and you'll be bitten by a snake within three days) — 
Nebraska: Pound, 167 (a snake skin will draw poison from a rattle- 
snake bite). Cf. Nos. 725, 1292, 1692, above, 2141, below. 

2140 Wear a belt made from a snake's skin to cure a snake bite. 
Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Cf. No. 2141, below. 

2141 To cure snake bite, cut the snake up which bit you and 
place it over the bite. 

Julian P. Boyd, and Professor J. T. C. Wright, Boone, Watauga county. 
The following cures, like those for dog bite (Nos. 1292 f., above), illus- 
trate the curative principle of similia similibiis curantiir. South: 
Southern Workman xxv (1896), 16 — South Carolina: Letter from Dr. 
Francis Le Jau, a missionary, to Henry Compton, Bishop of London, 
Sept. 17, 171 1 ("About six months ago that old Gentlemen had the 
courage to pull a rattle snake out of the hole by the tail, he was bitt 
in the thumb, but by eating presently after a piece of broyld liver of the 
snake in a house that happened to be near, and supping up some of the 
broth made with the same snake's flesh, he has recovered his life, and his 
health is grown stronger by degrees") — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1343 
(bind the liver and intestines of the snake to its bite) — Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 15, No. 2 — Mississippi: Clark, 141 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4530; No. 4531 (the snake's insides) — lozva: Stout, No. 1016 — 
Ozarks: Randolph, 158 (burning the snake "plumb to ashes," but not 
for application to the wound) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 76; Smith, 
Folk Cures, 84 — Nebraska: Pound, 166, 170 — Nezv Mexico: Baylor, 
150, No. 15 (when a person gets bitten by a rattlesnake, the thing to 
do is to grab it by both the tail and the head and bite it in the middle ; 
the poison of the person's mouth will kill the snake and cure the bite 
[Spanish]); Moya, 73 (tie a cloth or handkerchief around the snake 
and bite it; this is said to counteract the poisonous effect [Spanish]). 

Black, Folk-Medicine, 51 ; de Cock, No. 259 (11, 16) ; Radford, 12, 

221. 

2142 In case of a poisonous snake bite, kill the snake and bind 
the head to the wound. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. Texas: Woodhull, 64 — 

Nebraska: Pound, 166. Cf. No. 2141, above. Sebillot i, 243 f. ; 

Gallop, 65. 

2143 For rattlesnake bite the snake heart should be swallowed 
fresh, and the liver bruised and applied to the bite. 

Green Collection. General: Knortz, 66 (dry and pulverize the snake's 
heart and put it into beer or wine) — Pennsylvania: Owens 124 (swallow 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 279 

tlie heart) — Nebraska: Pound, 173, n. 5 (eat the heart to gain im- 
munity). Cf. No. 2141, above. 

2144 To cure the bite of a snake, kill the snake, and apply some 
of its fat to the wound. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 76, Cf. No. 2141, 
above. Puckett, 390 (Devonshire) ; Radford, 247; Udal, 220, 245. 

2145 For snake bites, kill the snake and tie it around your foot. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 378 (Negro). Cf. 
No. 2141, above. 

2146 For snake bite, put grease on the wound and let a dog 
lick it. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1341. 

2147 The snake is thought to produce a miraculous stone thai 
is able to extract venom from a snake bite. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. No. 2149, below. 

2148 The toad is believed to produce a miraculous stone. This 
is supposed to grow in the head of old toads, and is regarded 
as a valuable remedy to apply to draw venom from wounds. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. No. 2149, below. 

2149 Put a madstone on a snake bite to draw out the poison. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and the Green Collection. West 
Virginia: WVF i. No. i, [p. 15], No. 5 (a small stone to absorb or charm 
away the poison ; but evidently not a madstone) — Massachusetts: Wilson, 
Syrian, 138 (long description of an artificial stone used in the same 
manner as a madstone [Syrian]). 

2150 Drink the tea of cockleburs for snake bite. 

Green Collection. Texas: Woodhull, 63 (a tea is made of the green fruit 
or leaves, by brewing a cup of mashed material with three cups of water. 
One teaspoonful of tea will cause severe vomiting and relieve the stomach 
of the venom) — Nebraska: Black 32, No. 3 (beat cockleburs to a 
pulp and apply as a poultice to the wound) ; Pound, 166 (same as previous 
item). 

21 51 Dollar weed is a remedy for snake bites. 

Anonymous. The Cherokee Indians of Robeson county used dollar weed 
as a remedy for snakebite. 

2152 A plaster of garlic or onion was regarded as one of the 
most dependable remedies for rattlesnake bites. 

George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily Nezvs, n.d. Cf. Tennessee: Mc- 
Glasson, 15, No. 8 (put an onion on the bite to draw out the poison) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 201 (half an onion laid on the wound; 
also pounded onion and salt [German]) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 
74 f._ (onions beaten to a pulp and moistened with kerosene used as a 
poultice) ; Smith, Folk Cures, 84 (same as previous item) — New 



280 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Mexico: Curtin, i88 (a poultice of crushed garlic) — California: 
Loomis, Medicine, 119 (a poultice made of equal parts of onion, tobacco, 
and salt). 

2153 A poultice of polk root is good for poisonous snake bites. 
Julian P. Boyd. 

2154 Drinking tea made from snakeroot will drive the poison 
out of the body after the snake bites. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 178 (carry snake root 
with you) — Georgia: Campbell, 3 (snakeroot chewed) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 201 (poultice of bruised roots of black snakeroot [Ger- 
man]) ; Lick-Brendle, 146 (milky juice of the rattlesnake root taken with 
milk inwardly; the reference is from Virginia at an early date). 

2155 There is a snakeweed which, if bruised and placed on the 
snake bite, will draw out the poison. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. Georgia: Steiner, No. 
107 (snake eats the snakeweed after biting the man, "as the blood of a 
man is poisonous to a snake, he will die if he cannot get the weed") — 
Jamaica: Beckwith, Jamaica, No. 112 — Missouri and the Southmest: 
Bergen, Anivial, No. 1317 (Lycopus siniiatus is called rattlesnake-weed 
from its supposed value as an antidote to snake bites) — Osarks: 
Randolph, 102 (boiled in sweet milk) — Texas: Woodhull, 64 (antidote: 
Mexican troops along the Rio Grande carried a small package of the 
plant in their pockets). 

2156 In a formula for treating a snake bite, the doctor is di- 
rected to blow tobacco juice into the wound and to rub his fin- 
ger around the spot in a coiling movement, because the snake 
coils before he bites. 

Anonymous. Mississippi: Clark, 141 (The Indians of Mississippi . . . 
believed that the medicine man could avert serious consequences by 
blowing tobacco smoke into the wound and then making a circle, from 
left to right, around it, in the manner in which a snake was supposed to 
uncoil itself). 

2157 Ambeer (tobacco juice) is good for snake bites. 

Anonymous. Kentucky: Sanders, 16 (chew of tobacco applied) — 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 15, No. 6 (apply tobacco) — Mississippi: Clark, 
141 (a chew of tobacco) — Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 6 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4527 (chew of tobacco) ; No. 4528 (a leaf of natural tobacco 
bound on the wound) — Ozarks: Randolph, 82 (a chew of tobacco) — 
Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 74 (tobacco moistened and bound on) — 
Nebraska: Black 32, No. i (spit tobacco juice on it) ; Pound, 167; also 
ibid., n. 3. 

2158 Nicotine from a pipe placed on snake bites is a cure. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 32, No. i (cut a snake bite crisscross 
and empty a pipe on it). 

2159 ^or snake bite, bury the wounded part in the earth to 
draw out the poison. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county, and an anonymous informant. 
South: Puckett, 378 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1340. Cf. the notes to 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 281 

No. 2128, above, for burial in earth saturated in milk ; cf. also the notes 
to No. 2160, below; and, with kerosene, the notes to No. 2169, below. 

2160 A red mud poultice will cure snake bite. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 137, No. 30 — Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 15, No. 10 (clay mud) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
204 (red earth [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4523 — Nebraska: 
Black, 32, No. 8; Pound, 167. Cf. Nos. 2128 (notes), 2159, above. 

2 1 61 For snake bites, apply soda and old-fashioned lye soap to 
the bite. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 378 (Negro) — 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 15, No. 9 (take soda water) ; No. 13 (mixture of 
soda, turpentine, and kerosene to the bite). 

2162 Snake bites are treated by applying copper coins. 
Green Collection. 

2163 To cure snake bite, place copper cents with Indian heads 
down on the wound and around it. When they draw blisters, 
let out the poison water and repeat. Bind up with a turpentine 
bandage. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 

2164 Hold a bottle of liquor to the snake bite and it will draw 
the poison out of the bite. 

Edna Whitley. 

2165 To cure a snake bite, drink a lot of whiskey. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant i, 137, No. 29 (drink a quart 
of liquor) — Kentucky: Sanders, 16 (enough whiskey to make you 
drunk) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 15, No. 4 — Mississippi: Clark, 141 
— Pennsyh'ania: Brendle-Unger, 201 (the patient was filled with 
whiskey [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4529 (drink whiskey until 
you are drunk) — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk Cures, 85 — Nebraska: 
Black, 32, No. 7 (all the whiskey you can hold) ; Pound, 167 (drink all 
the whiskey you can, the more the better). 

2166 The most common cure for snake bite in my section is the 
drinking of whiskey and placing the affected part in whiskey. 
The whiskey turns a peculiar color and must be changed quite 
often. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

2167 Rub liquor on the bite and then drink some, and it will 
cure a snake bite. 

Wilma Foreman, Stanly county. Cf. Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 76 
(whiskey used externally, but more especially internally, was most com- 
mon cure for snake bite) ; Smith, Folk Cures, 84 (the same). 



282 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2168 Whiskey and turpentine salts are used to drive out poison 
caused by snake bites. 

Green Collection. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 201 (turpentine only 
[German]). Cf. also the second McGlasson reference for Tennessee in 
No. 2161, above. 

2169 Kerosene oil will prevent swelling in a snake bite. Suck 
the blood from the wound before applying. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafiftown, Forsyth county, and Mrs. Gertrude Allen 
Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 8 (dig a hole in the 
ground, place the part of you the snake bite is on in this hole, pour kero- 
sene around it, and the bite will be perfectly harmless) — Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 15, No. i; Redfield, No. 47; No. 49 (drink kerosene) — 
Mississippi: Clark, 141 — Ozarks: Randolph, 102 (stick the swollen 
leg into a bucket of kerosene, and the "pizen" will form a green scum) 
— Texas: Woodhull, 63 (submerge the limb in coal oil) — Nebraska: 
Black, Z2, No. 9 (coal oil) ; Pound, 167 (soak the bite in coal oil). 

2170 Place a bottle with turpentine over the snake bite, and 
refill after emptying the green (used) turpentine. 

Anonymous. 

Snoring 

21 71 To prevent snoring, rub the upper lip beneath the nose 
with the finger. 

J. K. Turner, Rocky Mount, Edgecomb county. 

2172 To cure snoring, tie a spool on the back so you cannot lie 
on your back. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

Snow Blindness 

2173 To cure snow blindness, apply a poultice of tea leaves to 
the eyes. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 215. 

Sores 

2174 If you doctor a sore with your forefinger it will not get 
well. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 46. Cf. Nos. 800 f., above, for a dis- 
cussion of the unfitness of the so-called "dog-finger" for the application of 

salves, ointments, and the like, and for other therapeutic uses. Addy, 

90 ; Thompson, Ireland, 225. 

2175 To cure a sore, let a dog lick it. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county; the Green Collection; and 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South: Puckett, 377 (Negro) — Ken- 
tucky: Thomas, No. 1348 (Negro) — Tennessee: Law, 98 (angry 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 283 

sores) ; O'Dell, Doctor, No. 17; O'Dell, Superstitions, 3; Redfield, No. 
127 — Pcunsylz'auia: Brcndle-Unger, 216 (German) — Indiana: Halpert, 
Cures, 6 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4769 — Midivest: Odell, 221, No. 2 
(pup) — Nebraska: Black, 31, No. 48. Cf. HDA v, 995, s.v. "lecken." 

2176 Comfrey root is a cure for sores. 
Anonymous. Udal, 225. 

2177 Beat up some peach leaves and bind to a sore and it will 
draw the soreness out of it. 

Rosa Efird, Stanly county. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 500 (poultices of 
peach leaves). 

2178 Green plantents [plantains?] are good for sores. 

Cozette Coble, Stanly county. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 218 (Ger- 
man) — Ohio: Bergen, Animal, No. 1309 (plantain leaves "wilted" or 
bruised are applied to any kind of sore, or "to draw out poison") — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4773. 

2179 Pokeberry leaves heated in vinegar will cause any sore to 
heal. 

Anonymous. 

2180 To cure sores, put some sheep sorrel plant into a pewter 
plate with lard and cook it until it will form a salve. 

Mrs. Williams. 

2181 Tobacco bound to a sore will cure it. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 
6 (tobacco juice) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4777 (wad of tobacco). 

2182 Assolica leaves and lion's tongue and sweet gum wax, 
mutton suet, and tallow compounded into a salve is good for 
sores. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

2183 Equal parts of pine rosin, mutton suet, and beeswax will 
heal sores. 

Clara Hearne, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax county. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 
30, No. 13 (sheep tallow only). 

2184 Sores can be cured by those who possess magical powers 
going through certain incantations which are to be followed by 
applications of oatmeal and vinegar. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). For magical and religious healing, see Nos. 775 d., 
above. 

Sore Throat 

2185 To prevent sore throat, rub some of the first frost on your 
eyes. 

Julian P. Boyd. 



204 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2186 For sore throat, pull the palate up by a lock of hair. 

Atrs. Norman Herring, Tomahawk, Sampson county. South: Puckett, 
369 (give the hair a sudden yank [Negro]) — Florida: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 907 (Negro) — Iowa: Stout, No. 857. 

2187 For sore throat, scratch each side of your throat with a 
fork and put the fork above your head, and it will get well. 

JuHan P. Boyd. 

2188 Bacon rind is applied to the throat and a red flannel is 
wrapped around the neck of the person afflicted with sore throat. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Nova Scotia: Creighton, 96, No. 
76 (pork and pepper beneath red flannel) — Ontario: Doering, Folk 
Medicine, 197 — New York: ReHhan, Remedies, 167 (red flannel not 
mentioned) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4945 (bacon simmered in hot vinegar) 
— Iowa: Stout, No. 875 (no flannel) — Nebraska: Black, 13, No. 46 
(cut bacon in strips and dip in vinegar; then tie around the throat); 
No. 48 (fat pork under a flannel cloth) ; No. 55 (fat salt pork covered 
with a dirty stocking). Cf. No. 2190, below. 

2189 If you put a piece of raw beef on the throat, it will cure 
the sore throat. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

2190 A piece of fat meat applied to the outside of the throat 
will cure the sore throat. 

Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 3 (ca. 
1885: a piece of meat rind placed about the throat) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4944 (pepper on fat pork, wrapped around the neck). Cf. No. 
2188, above, for references to bacon and fat meat. 

2 1 91 If you have sore throat, rub it with a chicken feather. 
Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county. 

2192 To cure sore throat, rub in goose oil and tie up with a 
stocking or flannel. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and Elsie Doxey, Cur- 
rituck county. Quebec: Marie-Ursule 176, No. 84 (French) — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. 277. 

2193 A poultice made of Jimson leaves is good for sore throat. 

Anonymous. 

2194 If you chew lightwood splinters it will cure the sore 
throat. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

2195 For sore throat, boil white navy beans until soft, make a 
mash, and apply as a poultice. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 215. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 285 

2196 Wear a nutmeg around your throat to cure the sore throat. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 315 — 
New York: Gardner, No. 9. 

2197 For sore throat, bake onions in sugar until a syrup is 
formed, and take a spoonful at a time. If the medicine does not 
cure, the odor will. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Hoffman 11, 29 (juice of three or 
five onions mixed with strong sage tea and brown sugar) — Idaho: 
Lore, 215. 

2198 To cure sore throat, an onion poultice of roasted onions 
should be left on all night. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and Minnie Stamps 
Gosney, Raleigh. Soittli Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 91 — Tennessee: 
Rogers, 26 (green onions fried in salty grease and applied hot) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4941 (an onion rolled in flour paste and baked over 
hot coals applied as a poultice) — New Mexico: Moya, 69, No. 36 
(Spanish). 

2199 A remedy for sore throat is pepper and vinegar. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 368 (Negro) — North Carolina: Bruton, 
Medicine, No. 36 — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 83 (vinegar, 
salt, and pepper mixed together) — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 27 (hot 
vinegar, red pepper, black pepper, and sugar) — Iowa: Stout, No. 846 
(vinegar, salt, honey, and cayenne pepper) ; No. 873 (vinegar, salt, and 
pepper). 

2200 Gargle tea of red oak bark, honey, and alum to cure sore 
throat. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4939 (inner bark from an oak tree) — Nebraska, Black, 13, No. 
45 (gargle tea made from inner bark of an oak tree). 

2201 A tea made from slippery elm bark is used as gargle for 
sore throat. 

Green Collection. 

2202 A slippery elm bark poultice is used for sore throat. 
Green Collection. 

2203 Teas made of yellowroot are good for sore throat. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Bruton, Medicine, No. 2 (as a 
gargle) — West Virginia: Musick, 6, No. 15a (chew yellow root) — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1134 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4959. 

2204 Mix turpentine with sweet oil (or lard), and take in- 
ternally for the sore throat. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 215. 



286 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2205 For sore throat, mix lard and kerosene in equal parts and 
apply. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 176, No. 87 (rub the 
throat with coal oil [French]) — Nczv York: ReHhan, Remedies, 167 
(tie kerosene around the neck) — Idaho: Lore, 215. 

2206 Cure a sore throat with chamber lye. Gargle with alum 
water after. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4956 (gargle with your own 
urine). Alum as a gargle is noted in Quebec (Marie-Ursule, 176, No. 
86). 

2207 Make a cross in the back of the fireplace in the soot, with 
a knife, then make a cross on the swollen part of the throat, and 
it will cure sore throat. 

Green Collection. Cf. South: Puckett, 368 (fire tongs, pot hooks; cross 
marks on table fork). 

2208 A bit of red flannel worn around the neck will cure sore 
throat. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county, and an anonymous informant. South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 92 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 277 — New 
York: Relihan, Remedies, 167 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4929 — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 831. Cf. Nos. 1138 ff., above. Black, Folk-Medicine, iii. 

2209 A stocking tied around the neck of a person suffering with 
sore throat will cure the ailment, if worn overnight. 

An anonymous informant and five others from widely separated localities. 
South Carolina: Fitchett, 361 (Negro) — Kentucky: Stuart, 8 (man's 
sock or woman's hose) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1556 (a woolen 
stocking [German]) — lozva: Stout, No. 828 — Texas: Woodhull, 67 — 
California: Dresslar, 113. HDA viii, 553. 

2210 If you have sore throat, take the stocking you have been 
wearing and tie it around your neck. Some say the dirtier the 
stocking is, the better. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county, and two other informants 
from Montgomery and Forsyth counties. General: Bergen, Current, 
No. 869; Knortz, 54 (sock) — South: Duncan 234, No. 9 (sock); 
Puckett, 367 — North Carolina: Bruton, Beliefs, No. 38 — South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 90 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1892 — Kentucky: Sanders, 22 — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 14 
(dirty yarn sock) — Nczv Brunszuick : Bergen, Animal, No. 909 (woolen 
stocking) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 277 (sock) ; Wintemberg, Grey. No. 
153 (sock) — Nezu England: Backus n, 196 (a stocking taken warm 
from the foot) ; Johnson, What They Say, 81 — Ohio: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 909 — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 35, No. i (sock) ; Busse, 15, No. 
4; Halpert, Cures, 3 {ca. 1885 [sock]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4950; 
Norlin, 206, No. Z2'< Smith i, 58 — Ozarks: Randolph, Folk-Beliefs. 82 
(woolen sock) — Texas: Lewis, 267; Turner, 168 (sock) — Nebraska: 
Black, 13, No. 51 (red woolen sock). Lean n, 512; Leather, 81. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 287 

221 1 To cure a sore throat, tie the stocking taken from the left 
foot around the throat at night. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 11 35 (right) — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 398 — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 176, No. 91 — Nova 
Scotia: Creighton, 96, No. jy (sock) — Ontario: Wintemberg, (icrman 
II, 86 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 131 [German]) ; Fogel, No. 1557 
(German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4952; No. 4953 (right) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 868. Storaker, Sygdom, No. 119. 

2212 To cure sore throat, turn a stocking wrong side out and 
wear it tied around the throat at night. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. 
Ontario: Wintemberg, German i, 47 (sock off the left foot turned inside 
out) ; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 13 (sock off the left foot turned inside 
out) — Pennsylvania: Grumbine, 279 (woolen stocking) ; Hoffman 11, 
29 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4951 (before going to bed, turn a stocking 
inside out and place the foot [of the stocking] against the sorest part of 
your throat ; then tie the whole stocking around the neck, and in the 
morning your sore throat will be gone) ; Smith 11, 69, No. 21 (woolen 
sock) — Iowa: Stout, No. 855 (long woolen home-knit stocking turned 
inside out). 

2213 For sore throat, take a black stocking, turn it wrong side 
out, and tie it around the throat with the heel over the Adam's 
apple. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Nebraska: Black, 13, No. 52 (soiled black 
cotton or woolen stocking; but not wrong side out) — Idaho: Lore, 215. 

2214 Tie a stocking, which has been wet with spirits of turpen- 
tine, around your neck at night if you have sore throat, and it 
will be well the following morning. 

Minnie Bryan Farrior, Duplin county. 

2215 To cure sore throat, take three handfuls of ashes with 
your left hand, put into your left stocking, and bind it around 
your throat. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Knortz, 54 — South: Puckett, 367 f. (warm ashes 
put into a dark stocking and bound around throat [Negro]) — Quebec: 
Marie-Usule, 176, No. 82 (salt and hot ashes tied in woolen stocking 
around the neck [French]) — Maine: Bergen, Current, No. 870 — Nezv 
York: Relihan, Remedies, 167 (wood ashes in a stocking wound around 
the neck). Cf. Nos. 2209 ff., above. 

2216 To cure sore throat, apply a bandage wet in cold water; 
then place a dry one on top and your throat will be well the next 
morning. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

2217 In a common but clean pipe, smoke equal parts of ground 
cofifee and sawdust of pine for sore throat. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 215. 



288 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2218 Sore throat is prevented by wearing real amber beads. 

Green Collection, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 
3 (ca. 1907: a string of amber beads) — Illinois: Norlin, 206, No. 32 — 

Nebraska: Black 13, No. 49 (a necklace of amber beads). HDA i, 

1092. 

2219 A string of gold beads worn around the neck is thought 
to be a preventive of sore throat. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 15 — Maine: 
Bergen, Current, Nos. 797, 799 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4923 (plain beads) 
— Osarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 161. 

Spasms 

2220 A bone from a stag's breast is worn, attached to the neck, 
to prevent spasms. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 36, 

Splinters 

2221 When you stick a splinter in yourself, take it out and put 
it in your hair so you will never stick one in that place again. 

Mr. Fairly, and two other informants from Guilford and Person counties. 
South: Puckett, 387 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1349. Cf. Nos. 1737, 
1779, above. 

2222 Whenever a splinter or any other object sticks into the 
body, pull the splinter out and put it upon the head. Wear it 
there for a day and the sore or wound will heal immediately. 

J. K. Turner, Rocky Mount, Edgecomb county. 

Sprains 

2223 A common custom among Negroes is to wear a leather 
strap about the wrist as a cure for sprains. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Bergen, Current, No. 812; Puckett, 313 f. 

2224 Dirt dauber's nest is good for sprains. 

Anonymous. Virginia: Martin, No. i (mixed with water to make a 
poultice) — Arkansas: Puckett, 375 (Negro). 

2225 For sprains use a poultice made of dirt dauber (mud 
dauber) nests mashed up in vinegar. 

Green Collection, and Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Georgia: 
Campbell, 2 — Mississippi: Hudson, 153, No. 2. Vinegar mixed with 
clay is reported from the following places: South Carolina: Bryant 11, 
136, No. 5 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 55 (German) — Ocarks: 
Randolph, 100 (red clay moistened into a paste with vinegar) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 1019. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 289 

2226 A poultice of Jimson leaves will cure sprains. 
Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. 

2227 For a sprained ankle or wrist, steam tobacco leaves and 
bind around the joint. 

Anonymous. 

2228 For a sprained ankle or wrist, bind in vinegar and brown 
paper. 

Anonymous. Tennessee: Law, 99 — Mississippi: Hudson, 153, No. i 
(for sprained ankle). 

2229 Chalk and vinegar are good for a sprain. 

Anonymous. Cf. notes to Nos. 2224 f., esp. No. 2225 (vinegar and 
clay). 

Stings of Insects 

2230 Urine is applied to a sting or bite. 

Green Collection. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 205 (clay kneaded 
with urine). 

2231 Pennyroyal beaten upon the legs will keep insects away. 
Green Collection. 

2232 If you wet some cut tobacco and lay it on a sting it will 
effect a cure. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh, and Madge Colclough, Durham county. 
Tennessee: McGlasson, 18, No. i — Ozarks: Randolph, 98 — Oklahoma: 
Smith, Animals, 74 — Nebraska: Black, 23, No. 23 (pull the stem from 
a pipe and put the excess nicotine on the sting). Cf. Nos. 2233, 2235, 
2251 ff., below. 

2233 Raw tobacco, chewed slightly, and bound on a sting or bite 
will cure it. 

Green Collection. North Carolina: Bruton, Medicine, No. 32 (tobacco 
cud) — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 73 — Tennessee: Law, 
99; O'Dell, Doctor, No. 18; O'Dell, Superstitions, 3; Redfield, No. 133 
— Ozarks: Randolph, Folk-Beliefs, 82 — Texas: Woodhull, 58. Cf. 
Nos. 2235, 2251 ff., below. 

2234 Make a poultice of snufif for insect bites. 

Green Collection, and Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: 
Puckett, 378 (bee sting [Negro]) — North Carolina: Bruton, Medi- 
cine, No. 32 (put snuff spit on the sting for relief) — Tennessee: Mc- 
Glasson, 18, No. 3 (rub with damp snuff). Cf. No. 2256, below. 

2235 Make a poultice of tobacco for insect bites. 

Green Collection. Cf. Nos. 2232 f., above, Nos. 2251 ff., below. 



290 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2236 Kerosene oil put on a sting will prevent swelling. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 
136 — Texas: Woodhull, 65 (beaten egg yolks, turpentine, coal oil, 
vinegar and salt, in equal amounts). 

2237 Baking soda, moistened and put on a sting, will prevent 
swelling. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county ; Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, 
McDowell county ; and Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 19, No. 7 (soda and molasses) ; No. 13 (soda and vinegar) 

— Texas: Woodhull, 58 — Nebraska: Black, 32, No. 24; No. 26 (soda 
and vinegar). Cf. Nos. 2257 ff., below. 

2238 For insect bites, black loam should be applied to the in- 
jured member. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering, Folk-Medicine, 197 

— Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 205 (German). Cf. Nos. 2241, 2261 
ff., below. 

2239 White flint rock which has been exposed to the sun is 
pressed to a sting to prevent swelling and pain. 

Green Collection. 

2240 A madstone is efficacious when applied to stings inflicted 
by poisonous insects. 

Green MS file. Cf. No. 1693, above. 

2241 Mud is good for insect bites. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county, J. Schaffner, and Edward Dreyer 
(Louisiana). Texas: Woodhull, 58 — Idaho: Lore, 215. Cf. Nos. 2160, 
2238, above; 2261 f., below. 

Stings of Bees, Flies, etc. 

2242 Rub your hands and other parts exposed with flowers to 
prevent bee stings. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. 

2243 For bee stings, use ear wax from your own ears. 
Anonymous. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4508. 

2244 If you get stung by a bee or anything, get three diiferenl 
kinds of weeds and rub on the sting, and it won't swell. 

Rosa Efird, Stanly county, and Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1813 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1351 
(insect stings) — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 128 (leaves) ; No. 130 — 
Vermont: Bergen, Animal, No. 1287 (chew together three leaves from 
three different kinds of tree, and put the pulp on the bee sting) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 205 (German) — Ohio: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 1286 (leaves) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 38 (juice from three 
different kinds of weed) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4502 (insect stings) ; 



superstitions: rody. folk medicine 291 

No. 4515 (leaves) — Ozarks: Randolph, loi (crushed leaves of three 
plants). 

2245 If a bee or hornet stings you. rub the stinp; with four dif- 
ferent kinds of leaves. Any kinds of weeds rubbed together on 
the place will do. 

Green Collection. Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 344. 

2246 To cure stings of bees, rub seven different kinds of weeds 
together and apply it to the sting. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Georgia: Campbell, 3 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 484 (seven different kinds of grass). 

2247 To cure a bee sting, wet the place with camphor. 
Anonymous. 

2248 For bee sting, rub a plantain leaf on the sting. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. General: Bergen, Animal, 
No. 1310 (freshly plucked) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1066 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 45 11 (chew plantain leaves and place them on a bee sting) — 
Wisconsin: Brown, Insects, 6 — Washington: Tacoma, 26. 

2249 For bee sting, rub potato on the affected place. 
Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. 

2250 Bind tobacco on the place where you are stung by a bee, 
wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket. It will draw out the poison. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and two other informants 
from Stanly and Durham counties. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 132 — 
Jozva: Stout, No. 1020 — Midzvest: Odell, 221 (tobacco juice on a 
hornet sting) — Nebraska: Black, 33, No. 27 (same as previous item). 

2251 Chewed tobacco is used as an application for fly bites. 
Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

2252 Apply chewed tobacco to wasp stings. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South: Puckett, 378 (Negro) ; ibid. 
(snuff) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4507. 

2253 To cure a bee sting, put tobacco grease on it. 
Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. 

2254 A bee sting can be cured by an application of tobacco 
juice. 

Dorothy McDowell Vann, I^leigh. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 131 
(smoking tobacco in hot water bandaged to the sting) — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 493 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1535 (tobacco quid 
[German]) — Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162. 

2255 Tobacco juice and salt are good for bee stings. 
Anonymous. 



292 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2256 Place snuff over a bee sting to cure it. 

Anonymous, and Madge Colclough, Durham county. Cf. No. 2234, above. 

2257 When a bee stings you, dampen the sting with cold water 
and then cover it with soda. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Cf. Tennessee: Redfield, No. 134 (a 
paste of soda and water) — lozva: Stout, No. 943 (wet soda), 

2258 Wash a bee sting in soda water. 

Anonymous. Cf. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 72 (bicarbonate of 
soda) . 

2259 A soda poultice is good for a bee sting. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1102 (put 
baking soda on a bumble bee's nest and they will not sting all month). 

2260 Bread soda is good for bee stings. 
Julian P. Boyd. 

2261 When one has been stung by a bee or wasp, the sting may 
be cured by an application of clay. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and Kate S. Russell, 
Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Sonth: Puckett, 378 (mud to a wasp sting 
[Negro]) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 272 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
205 (German); Fogel, No. 1536; No. 1537 (clay kneaded and thinned 
with urine [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4514 (clay and vinegar). 
Cf. No. 2241, above. 

2262 To a bee sting apply a poultice of mud. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Sonth: Puckett, 378 (Negro) — Nova Scotia: 
Fauset, No. 344 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Waterloo, 11 — Waugh, No. 
272 — New England: Backus 11, 197 — New York: Cutting, Farm, 24 
— Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4510 — lozva: Stout, No. 936 — Rio Grande: 
Bourke, 140 — Nebraska: Black, 32, No. 20 — New Mexico: Moya, 
54 (Spanish). Cf. Nos. 2241, 2261, above. 

2263 If you hold your breath while a mosquito is biting you, 
it can't withdraw his sticker and you are able to kill him. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. Holding one's breath to keep from 
being stung by a bee is known from the New England states to the 
Ozarks. 

Stings of Scorpions, Spiders, Centipedes 

2264 For the sting of a scorpion, one should rub garlic on the 
part stung. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 427. 

2265 Spider bites should be bound up with a steamed tobacco 
leaf. 

Green Collection. Cf. Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 74 (tobacco moistened 
and bound to the wound). Cf. 2250, above. 



superstitions: isody, folk medicine 293 

2266 To cure spider bites, put as much salt as the yolk of an 
egg will dissolve, and bind to the spider bite. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Texas: Woodhull, 44 (fine salt 
applied). 

2267 Spider bites may be successfully treated with a madstone. 
Green Collection. 

2268 Por the bite of a centipede, nine centipedes are kept in 
brandy in a bottle and the brandy is rubbed on the bite. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

Stomach Ailments 

2269 The moon is the controlling planet of stomach ailments. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

2270 Stomach fever may be cured by a person possessing the 
divine gift of healing. 

Anonymous. 

Strangulation 

2271 To relieve strangling, put a pair of scissors down inside 
the back of your dress. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Prince Edward Island: Bergen, Current, No. 854. 

Stroke 

2272 Carry salt in your pocket to ward off a stroke. 
Green Collection. 

Stuttering, Stammering 

2273 Snake eggs will cure stutters. 

F. C. Brown, Durham. These speech disorders are treated in greater 
detail in Nos. 343 ff., above. 

Sty 

2274 Do not look at a person who has a sty. If you do you are 
sure to catch the disease. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Tennessee: Redfield, 
No. 142 (do not look a person with a sty straight in the eye, or you 
will catch the person's sty) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 260. 

2275 To prevent more sties, pull out the lashes around the 
present sty. 

Green Collection. South Carolina: Bryant ii, 138, 62 — Mississippi: 
Hudson, 153, No. 4 — New England: Johnson, What They Say, 76 
(pull an eyewinker from the sty). 



294 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2276 Put breast milk on a sty. 

Green Collection. Croatia: Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 795. 

2277 If you rub a black cat's tail across your eye it will cure a 
sty. 

Julian P. Boyd, and two other informants from Cliatham and Currituck 
counties. Tennessee: McGlasson, 17, No. 13; Redfield, No. 140 — 
Kentucky: Rainey, 14 (blood from a cat's tail without a single white 
hair on the cat is applied to the sty) — Alabama: Bergen, Animal, No. 

811 — Nczvfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 761 — Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 329 (three hairs from a black cat's tail) ; Wintemberg, German 11, 
86 — Neiv England: Backus 11, 196; Johnson, What They Say, 76 — 
Neiv York: Relihan, Remedies, 168 — Indiana: Brewster, Cures. 38, 
No. I (three hairs taken from the tail of a black cat) • — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5081 — 0::arks: Randolph, 138; Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 162 (tip of 
a black cat's tail) — Texas: Woodhull, 68 — Nebraska: Black, 15, No. 
2 — Idaho: Lore, 215 — California: Dresslar, 37. Black, Folk- 
Medicine, 151 (tomcat's tail) ; Taboada, 33. 

2278 To cure a sty, rub a black cat's tail across the eye three 
times. 

Julian P. Boyd. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1756 — Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1353 (nine times) — Georgia: Bergen, Animal, No. 812 
(nine times) — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 139 (go down to the forks of 
the road and catch the first brown cat that you see ; rub the cat's tail 
through your eye nine times) — Michigan: Dorson, 116 (nine times) — 
Missouri: McKinney, 107 (nine times) — Texas: Bergen, Animal, No. 

812 (nine times). Black, Folk-Medicine, 116, 119, 151; Choice Notes, 

12; Radford, 230. 

2279 A Sty is cured by passing the tail of a black cat over the 
closed eyelid. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Dominican Republic: Andrade, 427. 

2280 Beat the white of an egg and put it on the eye. Do not 
let it dry on the eye. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2281 Corn meal and honey is good for sties on the eyes. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

2282 If you put tea leaves on the eye it will cure a sty. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Nova Scotia: Creighton, 90, No. 30 
(warm tea leaves) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5100 — Michigan: Dorson, 
116. 

2283 Rubbing a sty with a gold ring will cure it. 

Sue Hull (Indiana), an anonymous informant, and two from Durham and 
Wake counties. South: Puckett, 382 (Negro) — Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1865 — Tennessee: Frazier, 36, No. 41 (brisk rubbing with 
a cloth before the sty is rubbed with a ring) — Mississippi: Hudson, 
153, No. 3 — Prince Edtvard Island: Bergen, Current, No. 865 — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 280; also: (a gold ring and a cat's tail rubbed on 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 295 

the sty [Irish]) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 38, No. 2; Halpert, Cures, 
6 — Illinois: Allison, No. 150 ; Hyatt No. 5087; Norhn, 206, No. 42; 
Wheeler, 65 — lozva: Stout, No. 995 — Texas: Turner, 168 — Kansas: 

Davenport, 132 — California: Dresslar, 119. Black, Folk-Medicine, 

173; Choice Notes, 12, HDA in, 698; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 794; 
Kittredge, Witchcraft, 151 ; Lean 11, 514. 

2284 A sty in the eye is cured by rubbing a gold ring on the eye 
three mornings with a sign of the cross. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Labrador: Bergen, Current, No. 867 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5090 (rub three times; no mention of cross) ; No. 5091 (rub 
twice one way and once the other) — California: Dresslar, 119. 

2285 To cure a sty, rub it with a wedding ring. 

An anonymous informant. Sue Hull (Indiana), and two informants from 
Durham county. General: Bergen, Current, No. 866; Knortz, 24; Pat- 
ten, 139 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1356 (with a wedding ring that has 
been blessed) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 409 (with a ring that has been 
blessed; and rubbed until warm) — Nova Scotia: Creighton, 96, No. 75 

— Ontario: Waugh, No. 280; No. 308 (rub three times) — Nciv Eng- 
land: Johnson, What They Say, 76 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1571 
(German) ; Phillips, 163, No. i — Indiana: Busse, 15, No. 4 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5089 (with a wedding ring that has been blessed) — Michi- 
gan: Dorson, 160 (wedding ring taken out into the moonlight) — 
Ozarks: Smith, Folk Cures, 80 — Texas: WoodhuU, 68 (look through 
the ring after rubbing it on the sty) — Nebraska: Black, 15, No. i (the 
ring may be brass as well as gold) — Idaho: Lore, 215 — California: 

Dresslar, no f. — Washington: Tacoma, 20. Cf. No. 2284, above. 

Black, Folk-Medicine, 173; Lean 11, 514; Napier, 97; Radford, 133, 
230 f. ; Udal, 221 ; HDA iii, 698. 

2286 For a sty, pass a wedding ring over it, saying "the three 
highest names." 

Edward Dreyer (Louisiana). Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1866 (rub the sty three times with a wedding ring and say "words.") 

— Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 155 (put fasting spittle on a wedding 
ring, and with it make the sign of the cross over the sty in the name 
of the Trinity). 

2287 To cure a sty, rub a gold wedding ring on something wool, 
and then rub the sty with it. 

Green Collection. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 408 (rub with a wedding 
ring whicii has been rubbed until warm) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5088 
(the wedding ring is sometimes first rubbed on a blanket, over one's 
knee, or on a rug, to make it hot). 

2288 To cure a sty, wear brass earrings. 
Constance Patten, Greensboro. 

2289 Rub a sty with a brass thimble. 

Green Collection. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 6 (gold thimble) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 5080 (heat a brass thimble by friction, then rub over the sty). 



296 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2290 To cure a sty, rub it with silver. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Kentucky: Sanders, 18 f. 
(hot silver spoon) — Illinois: Norlin, 206, No. 43 (silver dollar) — 
Kansas: Davenport, 132 (silver spoon). 

2291 Sties may be "wished" away. 
Green Collection. 

2292 If a person has a sty on the eye, and another says, "You 
have a sty," and the first replies "It's a lie," the sty will go away. 

Green Collection, and three other informants from central and western 
counties. Cf. Texas: Turner, 168. 

2293 If you have a sty on your eye, and throw a handful of 
sand over your head, it will be cured. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county. 

2294 Sties were treated by the scratching of a cross on the 
corresponding forefinger to the afflicted eye. 

Green Collection. 

2295 A rhyme for charming away a sty : 

Sty, sty, go off my eye ; 

Take the first one that passes by. 

Green Collection. 

2296 A sty on one's eye will go away if you will go to a cross- 
road and say : 

Sty, sty, get off my eye and get off. 
And get on the next one that passes by. 

An anonymous informant, and Ellington Laelle (Georgia). Cf. 
Illinois: Allison, No. 120 (make a cross in the dirt at the center of a 
crossroads and say, "Sty, sty, go away, and go to the next one that 
passes by") ; Fox, 6 (slight verbal variation). 

2297 To cure a sty, go to the crossroad and say : 

Sty, sty, leave my eye. 

And go to the first one passing by. 

O. W. Blacknall, Kittrell, Vance county. Cf. Mississippi: Hudson, 
153. No. 2 (slight verbal differences) — Osarks: Randolph, 138 (the 
sufferer goes alone to the crossroads, exactly at midnight in the dark 
of the moon, and cries : "Sty, sty, leave my eye, / Go to the next feller 
passin' byl"). 

2298 To cure a sty, go alone at night to a crossroad and repeat 
the following lines : 

Sty, sty, go out of my eye, 
And go to the stranger, 
Who next passes by ! 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 297 

An anonymous informant, and G. W. Allen (New York). Cf. South: 
Porter, 112 (take three pieces of gravel, rub them together, saying, 
"Hi sty, go off my eye, / Go on the next one who comes by," and then 
place the stones, done up in a wrap, at a place where two roads cross) 
— Kentucky: Stuart, 10 (go to the forks of the road and turn around 
three times, and each time you turn say: "Stye stye, go off my eye, and 
go onto someone else's eye" and the sty will leave) — Tennessee: Frazier, 
35, No. 22 ("..., go to the next man passing by") — Pennsylvania: 
Brinton, 182. 

2299 For a sty on the eye, take a small piece of paper, rub it 
on the sty, go across the road three times, and say each time, 

Sty, sty, go off my eye, 
Go on the first one that passes by. 
This will cure it in two or three days. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

2300 To cure a sty, go to a fork in the road and say : 

Sty leave my eye, 

Take the next one who passes by. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county, and Sue Hull (Indiana). 

2301 Go to the forks of a road and say ; 

Sty, sty, git out'n my eye 

An' ketch the fust-un that comes by. 

Green Collection. 

2302 To remove a sty, go to a street corner, stand and repeat 
the following lines : 

Sty, sty, leave my eye, 
Catch the first person who passes by. 
Don't think about your sty an}^ more and it will leave. 

Julia E. Self (Florida). Cf. Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 15 (the charm 
is sung) — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 137 — Mississippi: Hudson, 153, 
No. I (notch a stick, bury it in the road, and say: etc.) — Illinois: 
Smith I, 58 — Texas: Turner, 168. In none of the above references is 
mention made of not thinking of the sty. 

Sunburn 

2303 Fresh cream is good for sunburn. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. lozva: Stout, No. 1025. 

2304 Nutmeg ou the end of silk thread prevents sun pains. 

Green Collection. Cf. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 5 (sun pains cured by 
a nutmeg hanging in the hollow of the neck). 

2305 Meal, tanse [tansy], and buttermilk will remove sunburn. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 



298 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Swamp Fever 

2306 Snakeskin bay and toad's eye in it are worn to ward off 
swamp fever. 

Green Collection. 

Sweats, Siveating 

2307 To bring a sweat on, a former method was the drinking 
of the distillation of a human skull. 

Newspaper clipping. 

2308 To produce a sweat, one old woman boiled ears of corn, 
wrapped them in cloths, and put them by her side in bed. 

Green Collection. Ohio: Bergen, Animal, No. 1258 — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 5896 (boil red corncobs for juice to make a tea for night sweats). 

2309 To prevent and cure night sweats, place a basin of water 
under the bed. The water may also be placed in a bowl, bucket, 
or pan. 

Green Collection, and two informants from Wake county ; one from 
Durham, and one anonymous informant. South: Fitchett, 360 (Negro) ; 
Puckett, 387 (a pail of water with sliced onions in it, placed under the 
bed [Negro]) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1895 (water should be 
changed daily ; a pan of clean, pure earth is also put under the bed 
to absorb something in the air which causes the sweating) — Virginia: 
Martin, No. 5 — Kentucky: Thomas. 1282 — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, 
No. 33, Rogers, 32 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 434 — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, Nos. 1390, 1622 (German) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, y] — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 113; Fox, 6; Hyatt, No. 5903 (the pan must 
contain a gallon of water) No. 5904 (water secretly put under the 
patient's bed and allowed to stay there for nine nights ; ineffectual if 
patient learns it is there) ; No. 5905 (put a tub of water under the bed; 
the first night leaving between the water and the top of the tub the 
width of a dollar, the second night the width of a half dollar, the third 
night the width of a quarter, the fourth night the width of a dime. If 
you do this, you will never have the night sweats any more) ; No. 5899 
(place a cup of sage tea under the bed at night) — Ocarks: Randolph, 
146 — Texas: Lewis, 267 — Nebraska: Black, 38, No. 100. 

2310 For perspiration, make applications of such costly per- 
fumes as are in use, or procure some compound spirits of am- 
monia, and place about two tablespoonfuls in a basin of water. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 213 {Idaho World, Dec. 10, 1864). 

Swellings 

231 1 To bring a rising to a head, apply dried beef gall. 
Anonymous. Cf. Nebraska: Black, 17, No. 5 (raw beefsteak on a bruise 
to draw out inflammation). 

2312 The right-hand jaw bone of a hog is used to rub and cure 

risings. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4931 (the swelling should 
be rubbed with the marrow out of a hog jowl). 



superstitions: ijody, folk medicine 299 

2313 A live cat is split and applied warm to a swollen knee. 
Green Collection. 

2314 To cure a rising, smother a mole in the hand, ruh it over 
the rising, and it will go away. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. South: Puckctt, 378 f. (Negro). 

2315 Put a salve made from honey and flour on a rising to 
cure it. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4799 (a salve 
of wheat flour, saflfron, eggs, and vinegar). 

2316 A poultice of jinison leaves will cure risings. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. South: Puckett, 378 
(Negro) — Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 294 (German) — Indiana: 
Busse, 15, No. 14 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4756. 

2317 Put one and one-half to two inches of whiskey in a quart 
jar ; fill with pokeberries ; let stand for a while, and then drink 
the juice two or three times a day. This will cure a rising. 
Julian P. Boyd. 

2318 A poultice of stewed pumpkin will reduce inflammation. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

2319 Swellings are cured by applying a poultice of stewed 
pumpkin. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

2320 To bring a rising to a head, apply a poultice made from 
the bark of sassafras root. 

Anonymous. 

2321 Swampelter [swamp elder?] is good for risings. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. Cf. Pennsylvania: 
Lick-Brendle, 233 (the leaves and bark of smooth alder). 

2322 Wild comfort [comfrey?] poultice is good for a rising in 
the head. 

Anonymous. 

2323 A poultice made of brandy and soda is good for drawing 
the soreness from a swelling. 

Virginia Bowers, Stanly county. 

2324 Boil red oak bark and mix meal with the water for a 
poultice for all sorts of swellings. 

Green Collection. 



300 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2325 For inflammation, apply a poultice of melted sugar and 
soap. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Ocarks: Randolph, lOi (a mixture of soft 
soap and brown sugar) — Texas: Woodhull, 68 (brandy, soft soap, and 
salt) — Nebraska: Black, 17, No. 7 (same as previous item). 

2326 For inflammation, apply plain axle grease. This was a 
common remedy in early times. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

2327 Throw salt on the body to keep it from swelling. 

Helen Fraser Smith. This was done particularly in the care of the 
bodies of the dead (but not attested in the Brown Collection). Cf., how- 
ever, No. 5423, below. 

2328 Grandmother always advocated tying a copper penny tight 
over any swelling on the body. The swelling would be reduced. 
Elizabeth Sutton, Durham county. 

Tapeworm 

2329 There was a person in Montgomery county who was suf- 
fering from tapeworm. The people tried the following cure. 
The person was almost starved to death for several days. Then 
someone tied him to a bed and put a table laden with all the 
good things one can imagine to eat on it. The tapeworm crawled 
out to get the food. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4458 (lur- 
ing the tapeworm out to get food). Cf. Kamp, 52, No. 9. 

2330 To cure tapeworm, hold a cabbage to the person's mouth, 
and the worm will crawl out. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

Tetter 

2331 Place a shovel in the fire and get it hot. Remove it and 
cover it with a layer of grains of corn ; then place a cold iron on 
it. When the iron has had time for steam to collect on it, rub 
it on parts of body affected with tetter, and you will cure it. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 

2332 For tetter, grease affected parts with chitling (chitterling) 
grease. 

Green Collection. 

Throat Ailments 

2333 Beads are worn to keep ofif throat diseases. 
Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. 



superstitions: isody, folk medicine 301 

2334 To bring up the palate when it drops and tickles the root 
of the tongue, take a wisp of hair on the crown of the head and 
tie it up very tight. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Nos. 1394 ff., above. 

Toenails 

2335 For ingrown toenails, cut a "V" on the center edge of the 
nail and keep the nail scraped thin. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Ontario: Doering, Customs, 153 (scrape the 
nail with a sharp piece of glass) ; Doering-Doering i, 63 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 53 — Illinois: Allison, No. 169 — Idaho: Lore, 212. 

2336 Ashes (wood ashes) are used for ingrown toenails. 
J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63. 

Toothache 

2337 To cure toothache, pick the tooth with a splinter. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. South: Puckett, 373 (Negro) 

— Ontario: Wintemberg, German 11, 88 (splinter from tree blown down) 

— Pennsylvania: Bayard, 59 (splinter from sweet apple tree). (There 
are references from all parts of the country to the use of a splinter or 
toothpick made from a tree struck by lightning; cf. No. 2363, below.) 
HDA I, 1420: Storaker, Sygdom, Nos. 147 f., 150; Radford, 243. 

2338 Cut (trim) your fingernails on Friday, and you will never 
have toothache again. 

Alma Irene Stone, Meredith College, and two informants from Madison 
and Durham counties. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 751 — South: 
Puckett, 401 (if you cut your nails on Friday you will have a toothache 
[Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1407 (you can cure toothache 
by promising not to cut your nails on Sunday) — Ontario: Wintem- 
berg, Roebuck, 154 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 117 f. (cut the nails 
from hands and feet on a Friday in the decrease of the moon and wrap 
them in a white paper ; then go to the north side of a building and "do 
your business" ("Notdurft verrichten"). If you do this three times a 
year you can keep away toothaches as long as you live [German]) — 
Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 177 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5630 — 
Texas: Berdau, 382 (if a girl cuts her nails on the first Friday after 
the full moon, she will have no toothache as long as she follows this 
practice [Spanish]) — California: Dresslar, 74. Wessman, 31. 

2339 Don't cut your fingernails on Friday to keep from having 
toothache. 

Julian P. Boyd. South: Wiltse, 133 (trim nails every Friday night for 
nine consecutive weeks) — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 2204; No. 
2205 (many persons, men as well as women, will have their nails, either 
on the fingers or toes, manicured only on Friday ; this is to prevent tooth- 
ache) — Kentucky: Stuart, 5; Thomas, No. 1406 — Quebec: Marie- 
Ursule, 170 (to cut one's nails on Monday morning before sunrise means 
toothaches all week [French]) — New England: Johnson, What They 
Say, 82 — Nezv Hampshire: Bergen, Animal, No. 752 (cut your nails 
on Friday and you will have toothache) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 



302 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

117 (finger nails and toenails are to be cut on Friday or Sunday, and 
the parings buried on the north side of the house [German]) ; Fogel, 
No. 1641 (cut your nails on Sunday to prevent toothache [German]) — 
Rio Grande: Bourke, 136 — Kansas: Davenport, 131 — H^ashington: 

Tacoma, 18. Udal, 31 (Good Friday); Lean 11, 515; Birlinger i, 

482; Laval, 19, No. 26; Wessman, 31. 

2340 Wax from the ear is a good cure for toothache. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
5628. 

2341 For the toothache, take an eyelash, and eyebrow, trim- 
mings of the fingernails and toenails of the patient, bore a hole 
in a beech tree and put them in. The sufferer must not see the 
tree, and it must not be cut down or burned. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Puckett, 373 (cotton put into tooth; also 
some mixed with the patient's hair and placed in a hole drilled into an 
oak tree [Negro]) — Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 753 (finger- 
nails only placed in a hole in a tree; this is to be done secretly) — Cape 
Breton: Bergen, Current, No. 833 — Nova Scotia: Bergen, Animal, No. 
813 (bits of hair and nails plugged into an apple tree) — New England: 
Johnson, What They Say, 164 (cut a little bit from each toenail and 
fingernail, then wrap the cuttings in white paper or birch bark, and put 
'em in a hole bored in a pine tree ; close the hole by plugging, and you 
won't have any trouble with aching teeth as long as you live) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 118 (take a goose-quill and cut it off 
where it begins to be hollow, then scrape off a little from each nail of the 
hands and feet, put all in the quill and plug shut. Then bore a hole, 
toward the rise of the sun, in a tree that bears no fruit, put the quill 
with scrapings of the nails into the hole and with three strokes close up 
the hole with a bung made of pine wood [German]) ; Grumbine, 279 f. 
(much the same as in the previous item, except that it must be done on 
Good Friday while fasting, and before speaking to anyone) — Ocarks: 
Randolph, 143 (elaborate description of a "toothache peg" plugged into a 
tree at the exact height of the aching tooth). Cf. Nos. 2378 f., below. 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 840 f. ; Black, Folk-Medicine, 188. 

2342 To cure toothache, wash behind your ears every morning. 
Green Collection. Kansas: Davenport, 131. 

2343 Toothache is prevented by carrying the tooth or piece of 
bone of an animal picked up in the field. 

Green Collection. Cf. Osarks: Randolph, 143 (jawbone of mule is picked 
up with teeth, and allowed to fall after the patient has walked backward 
nine steps ; one must be careful not to touch it with the hands, nor to 
look back when walking away, nor to mention the matter to anyone). 
Cf. Nos. 2344, 2346, 2348, below. Hovorka-Kronfeld n, 842. 

2344 Indians use a bear's tooth attached to scissors to cure the 
toothache. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Labrador: Bergen, Animal, No. 34. 

2345 A good cure for toothache is cow manure. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. New Mexico: 
Moya, 74, No. 115 (cow urine). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 303 

2346 A fin-bone of the haddock, taken from the living fish 
without the knowledge of other persons, and worn in a bag, will 
cure toothache. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Labrador, 
NewfoiDidland: Bergen, Animal, No. 3. 

2347 The fat of the gray squirrel is used for the toothache. 
George P. Wilson, Greensboro Daily News, n.d. 

2348 If a hog's tooth is carried in the pocket, the bearer will 
never have a toothache. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county, and Sue Hull (Indiana), 
Cf. South: Puckett, 373 (anoint the jaw with oil from a hog's jowl 
[Negro]) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1401 (if you keep a hog's jaw 
tooth) ; Stuart, 5 (wear one of the "lettle bones around ycr neck") — 
Ontario: Wintemberg, German i, 48; 11, 87; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 14 
(a bone from the pig's skull, known as the "Hernzahn," is carried in the 
pocket [GermaiiJ) — N ctv York: Relihan, Remedies, 168 (carried in the 
right pants pocket) — Pennsylvania: Bergen, Animal, No. 2)Z\ Brendle- 
Unger, 120 (German) ; Fogel, No. 1668 (German) ; Grumbine, 275 
(brain tooth of a hog) — Ozarks: Wilson, Folk Beliefs, 161 (carried in 
the right pants pocket). 

2349 To cure toothache, drink after a horse. 
Constance Patten, Greensboro. Sotith: Puckett, ay 3 (Negro). 

2350 A spider web put in an aching tooth will cure the ache. 
Green Collection, and Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. 

2351 Dried woodpecker tongues are used for toothache. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 116 (dried woodcock's 
tongue [German]) ; Rupp, 254 (dried woodcock's tongue [German]). 

2352 Toothache is caused by a worm at the root of the tooth. 
The worm may be seen when the tooth is pulled out. 

Green Collection, and an anonymous informant. Hovorka-Kronfeld i, 
182 f. ; II, 823, 838, 841 ; Black, Folk-Medicine, 32 f. ; Radford, 243. "It 
is a common belief among the Indians of Guatemala that toothache is 
caused by a worm which gets inside the tooth and produces pain and dis- 
comfort" (Popul Viih: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Maya [Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1950], p. 97 n. 4). By homoeopathic 
principles, worms are smoked in pipes in Newfoundland to cure tooth- 
ache (Bergen, Animal, No. 794). Cf. Knortz, 51. 

2353 For toothache, make a poultice of corn meal, ashes, and 
salt (about equal parts of corn meal and ashes, and about half 
or one-third as much salt), mix with water, and apply hot to 
the side of the face. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Parched cornmeal is applied 
to the teeth in Tennessee (McGlasson, 14, No. 20) and blue cornmeal in 
Nczv Mexico (Moya, 70, No. 52 [Spanish]), while hot ashes are applied 
to the jaw in Tennessee (Farr, Riddles, No. 20; McGlasson 13, No. 2). 
For uses of salt, see Nos. 2368 ff., below. 



304 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2354 The juice of the boxwood is used to cure toothache. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

2355 Place a twig of an elder silently in the ground to cure 
toothache. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Black, Folk-Medicine, 192. 

2356 Smoke-dried leaves of the life everlasting plant will cure 
toothache. 

Anonymous. South: Puckett, 373 (Negro) — South Carolina: Bryant 
II, 138, No. 57. 

2357 Put a piece of night-eye in the tooth for toothache. 
Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. 

2358 A nutmeg worn around the neck on a string will cure 
toothache. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 14, No. 16 (put 
nutmeg on the tooth) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5638 — Nczv Mexico: 
Moya, 70, No. 55 (nutmeg in the cavity of the aching tooth [Spanish]). 

2359 Bog onion is used to allay toothache. 

J. Schaffner. Bog onion is the root of jack-in-the-pulpit, according to 
the informant. 

2360 For toothache, take a drop of the oil from a branch of the 
peach tree, procured by burning it with a pine knot or lightwood 
splinter, and drop it on the tooth. 

Green Collection. 

2361 Put a hot raisin on an aching tooth and the aching will 
cease. 

Minnie Bryan Farrior, Duplin county. Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 4. 

2362 Red pepper will stop the toothache. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Tennessee: McGlasson, 14, No. 25 (red 
pepper tea) ; No. 8 (black pepper on cotton applied to the tooth) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5640 (whole black pepper into the cavity). 

2363 To prevent toothache, use toothpicks made from light- 
ning-struck timber. 

Green Collection. General: Bergen, Animal, No. 1290; Knortz, 48 — 
Maryland: Bergen, Animal, No. 1289 (such a toothpick will kill the 
nerve of a tooth and thus cure the toothache) ; Whitney-Bullock, No. 
1719; No. 1808; No. 1809 (chew shaving of a tree struck by lightning) 
— Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1412 — Tennessee: McGlasson, 14, No. 7; 
Redfield, No. 32 — New Hampshire: Bergen, Animal, No. 1288 — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 116 (the ache will cease, but the tooth 
will decay [German]); Fogel, No. 1639, No. 1640; Grumbine, 280 — 
Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 39, No. i — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5636 (prick 
the gum until it bleeds) — Osarks: Randolph, 144 — California: 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 305 

Dresslar, 17. Southern Negroes throw such a sliver into flowing water to 
carry the toothache away (Puckett, 372 f.) ; cf. also Mississippi (Hudson, 
153, No. 5). Cf. No. 2337, above, Nos. 2376 f., 2380, below. 

2364 Snuflf will prevent the toothache. 
Green Collection. 

2365 Tobacco is a preventive of toothache. 

Green Collection. Tennessee: McGlasson, 14, No. 11 (a piece of tobacco 
in the mouth next to the tooth) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 115 
(stem of pipe put to ear and tobacco smoke blown into the ear [Ger- 
man]) — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk Cures, 83 (tobacco smoke) — Texas: 
WoodhuU, 69 — Nezv Mexico: Moya, 70, No. 53 (a piece of tobacco put 
into the cavity [Spanish]). 

2366 Chewing tobacco is good for decaying teeth and toothache. 

Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county, and Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, 
Person county. South Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 56 — Mississippi: 
Hudson, 153, No. i — Ontario: Waugh, No. 275 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 116; Lick-Brendle, 91 (German) — Ohio: Nezv Yorker, 
April 28, 1951, p. 27 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5647 (the person who chews 
tobacco never has the toothache) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, 74; 
Smith, Folk Cures, 83 — Midivest: Odell, 221 — Nebraska: Black, 22, 
No. 5 — New Mexico: Moya, 70, No. 53 (Spanish). 

2367 Fill the hollow of the tooth with baking powder to cure 
the toothache. 

Green Collection, and Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 14, No. 13 — Nezv Mexico: Moya, 72, No. 78 (baking soda 
[Spanish]). 

2368 For toothache, put a teaspoonful of salt on the tooth, close 
the mouth and hold it until relieved. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 5 (salt 
and sulphur smoked in a new stone pipe) — Tennessee: Rogers, 43 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5644. Taboada, 39. 

2369 An aching tooth will be cured by rubbing a bag of salt on 
it. 

Jane N. Ray, Meredith College, and Ada Briggs (Virginia). 

2370 A bag of heated salt will stop toothache. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Tennessee: Mc- 
Glasson, 14, No. 14 (hot salt water) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5645 (heat 
a sack of salt and place it on top of your head). 

2371 To cure toothache, apply a bag of hot hops or salt. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Ontario: Waugh, No. 
274. 

2372 Salt, tobacco, ashes, and vinegar heated and used as a 
polus [poultice?] is good for toothache. 

Anonymous. Cf. Nos. 2353, 2365 ff., above. 



306 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2373 If you put soda in your tooth, it will stop the toothache. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Tennessee: McGlasson, 14, No. 6. 

2374 Bluestone is good for the toothache. 
Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. 

2375 All kinds of things have been put into aching teeth, but 
the most potent is carboHc acid, for it destroys the nerve and 
kills the ache. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 207. 

2376 For toothache, pick the gum around the tooth until it 
bleeds, take three sharp-pointed, fat lightwood splinters and 
touch the blood. Hide the splinters. 

Dorothy Vann, Raleigh. Cf. Nos. 2337, 2363, above. 

2377 For toothache, go to the woods, cut a splinter of sour- 
wood, pick the tooth till it bleeds. Set the splinter back where it 
came from. It will grow back and you'll never have the tooth- 
ache again. 

Green Collection. 

2378 Drive one of your baby teeth into a tree, and you will 
never have the toothache. 

Mr. Fairly. 

2379 A nail driven into an oak tree is a cure for toothache. 

Green Collection. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1408 (stand a person 
against a tree and drive a nail into the tree just above his head) — 
Indiana: Brewster, Specimens, 364 (ask the name of the sufferer, then 
procure a hammer and a nail and retire behind a woodhouse or to some 
secret place and drive the nail mto some wood ; when you have finished 

the toothache will be gone). Cf. No. 2341, above. Radford, 183, 241; 

also 242. 

2380 A potent remedy for toothache is to cut the gum with an 
iron nail till the blood flows, smear some of the blood on the 
nail and drive it up to the head into a wooden beam, and so long 
as the nail remains in position, the toothache will never again 
attack the operator. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, Nos. 458 f. (touching tooth 
with new nail and driving it into a wall [or post]). No mention is made 
of blood in either case. Coffin nails were frequently used to pick the 

teeth, make the gums bleed, etc. Black, Folk-Medicine, 39 ; Napier, 

131 ; Radford, 180, 242. 

2381 If a young lady having a sweetheart has a toothache, the 
following operation is a sure cure. Let her suitor take her by 
the hand and conduct the patient to some place where no one 
will observe the performance, in a grove for instance — it must 



superstitions: body, folk mkdicine 307 

be out in nature ; then let the lover pick the affected parts with 
a sharp or pointed instrument until the blood is obtained. Then 
let him take a drop of blood and make away with it unbeknown 
to his sweetheart. This produces a permanent cure. 

Reverend L. D. Hayman, Hyde and Dare counties. Cf. Alabama: 
Bergen, A)i{riwl, No. 1173 (Go into a lonely part of the woods with 
one of the opposite sex, who is to carry an ax. The bearer of the ax 
chops around the roots of a white oak, cuts off, with a large jackknife, 
nine splinters from roots of the tree, then cuts around the roots of the 
aching tootli with the knife, dips each of the splinters in the blood that 
flows from these cuts, and finally buries the splinters at the foot of the 
tree from which they came. While doing this, the operator says over 
"something you don't understand," — undoubtedly a charm). 

2382 Toothache may be cured by a written charm sealed up 
and worn around the neck of the afflicted person. The following 
is a copy of the charm: 'T've seen it written, a feller was sittin' 
on a marvel stone, and our Lord came by, and He said to him, 
'What's the matter with thee, my man?' And he said, 'Got a 
toothache, Marster.' And he said, 'Follow me and thee shall 
have no more toothache.' " 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 174, No. 65. Black, 

Folk-Medicine, 77; Udal, 219; Harland-Wilkinson, 75 f. 

2383 To cure toothache, wear a bit of bead on a string around 
the neck. 

Green Collection. 

2384 A lead or pewter ring worn on the finger keeps off tooth- 
ache. 

Green Collection. Cf. Black, Folk-Medicine, 173. 

2385 To carry a bullet in one's pocket will prevent an attack 
of toothache. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

Train Sickness 

2386 A sure preventive against train sickness is a piece of sta- 
tionery placed upon one's chest. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1420; No. 
1419 (a newspaper inside the shirt next to the skin) ; No. 1421 (a pair 
of soles made of butcher's paper) — Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 
196 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5765 (writing paper on the pit of the 
stomach) ; No. 5763 (newspaper under the shirt) — lozva: Stout, No. 932 
(brown paper across the stomach) — California: Bushnell, 274, No. 14 
(newspaper against the skin at the pit of the stomach). Cf. No. 2094, 
above (sea-sickness). 

Tuberculosis 

2387 It is bad luck to spit in the fire, as it "dries up your 
lungs," and then you die of tuberculosis. 

Rebecca Willis (Texas). 



308 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2388 If a person's hair blazes when put into the fire, he is sub- 
ject to tuberculosis. 

Green Collection. 

2389 Kill a rattlesnake, skin it, and pickle it with whiskey, and 
then drink the whiskey from it to cure tuberculosis. 

Green Collection, and Edith Walker, Watauga county. Cf. Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1148 (cut off a rattlesnake's head, put the snake into rum, 
and then drink two or three times a day) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No, 
1424 (a rattlesnake, killed without biting itself) should be fried like 
an eel and eaten [German]). 

2390 Take one pound of flaxseed and boil it with the juice and 
peeling, etc. of a dozen lemons, then add a quart of strained 
honey and boil all the mixture down to one quart of syrupy sub- 
stance, straining out the flaxseed and lemon seed, etc. Then take 
one teaspoonful every hour for an indefinite period. It is a sure 
cure for tuberculosis. 

Green Collection. 

2391 Slice and dry Indian turnip and mix with honey. This 
cures T.B. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county. Indian turnip was also known as jack- 
in-the-pulpit. Cf. Pennsylvania: Lick-Brendle, 41 f. (German). 

Typhoid Fever 

2392 It is a Bladen county belief that typhoid fever always 
follows the clearing of land. Don't live there for a year or two. 
Louise W. Sloan, Davidson, Bladen county. 

2393 To cure typhoid, tie cabbage leaves around the wrists and 
ankles of the patient ; also bind them to the head. 

Green Collection. 

2394 An onion kept in the room of a typhoid patient will keep 
the nurse from catching the disease. 

Green Collection. "One nurse found an onion under the bed." Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1425 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5188 (sliced onions; they will 
turn black). 

2395 For typhoid fever, bathe in steeped peach leaves. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 367 (Negro) — 
Georgia: Campbell, 3. 

2396 A pine knot placed in drinking water will prevent typhoid. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Kentucky: Thomas, 1198 — 
Tennessee: Rogers, 21 (a pill of pure pine resin about the size of a bullet 
taken once a month to prevent typhoid). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 309 

2397 Alternate doses of quinine and tea made of cockleburs 
(gathered before frost) are used for typhoid fever. 

Green Collection. 

Ulcers 

2398 For ulcers of the stomach, drink tea made of dry gizzards 
from chickens, being sure to use the muscular skin. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 216. 

2399 Oatmeal gruel without milk (a little cream stirred in) is 
good for stomach ulcers. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. 

2400 Yellowroot is good for ulcers. 

Mrs. Maude Minish Sutton, Lenoir, Caldwell county. "Once on Jonas 
Ridge I had a very painful ulcer in my mouth. 'Hywer, chew this yeller 
root,' commanded my hostess." Indiana: Halpert, Cures, 4 (for stomach 
ulcer) . 

Vomiting 

2401 Put an tgg on your chest to keep from vomiting. 

Green Collection. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 5787 (hold an egg on the 
hollow below the Adam's apple). 

2402 Lobelia weed tea will make a person throw up. 

Mrs. Williams. West Virginia: Musick, 6, No. 17 (tea made from the 
seeds of lobelia pods). 

Warts 

2403 Blood from a wart, especially if applied to the tongue, 
will cause warts to appear. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). New Jersey: Bergen, Current, No. 873. 

2404 Blood from the warts on a cow's bag, coming in contact 
with a person's hands, will cause warts to appear on them. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Neiv Hampshire: Bergen, Current, No. 872 — 
Pennsylvania: Brinton, 183. 

2405 Warts are caused by touching the white of an tgg. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Knortz, 49 — Massachusetts: Bergen, 
Current, No. 878. 

2406 Water that eggs have been washed in will cause warts. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. General: Knortz, 49 — Georgia: 
Steiner, No. 82 — New Brunszvick : Knortz, 49 — Ontario: Doering- 
Doering i, 64; Waugh, No. 302 — New England: Johnson, ll'hat They 
Say, 117 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 64 (German) ; Fogcl, No. 
1734 (washing dishes in water in which eggs have been boiled [Ger- 
man]). Harland- Wilkinson, 121; Radford, 249; Storaker, Mennesket, 

No. 138. 



310 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2407 Washing the hands in water in which eggs have been 
boiled causes warts to grow. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cape Breton and Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, 
No. 877 — California: Dresslar, 107. 

2408 To drink the water in which eggs have been boiled will 
cause internal warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). New Brunswick : Bergen, Current, No. 876. 

2409 If raindrops fall ofif the eaves of a house onto the hands, 
they will cause warts. 

Green Collection. 

2410 If you handle frogs (toad-frogs) you will have warts on 
your hands. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county; J. T. Carpenter, Durham county; Jessie 
Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county ; and Doris Overton, Greensboro. 
General: Beckwith, College, No. 96 — Kentucky: Fowler, No. 3503a — 
Tennessee: Redfield, No. 172 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 1480 — 
Mississippi: Hudson, 154, No. 10 (toad-frog) ; Puckett, 381 (Negro) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4014; No. 4015 (a bullfrog wetting on you will give 
you warts) — Washington: Tacoma, 19 (if a frog spits on one, a wart 
results). Cf. Nos. 2413 f., below. 

241 1 If a hen gets the corn with blood from a wart, three will 
come in its place. 

Green Collection. 

2412 To touch the jellyfish will cause warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Noi'a Scotia and Nezv England: Bergen, Current, 
No. 879. 

2413 If you play with frogs, you will have warts on your hands. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. General: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 1040; Bergen, Current, No. 882 — South Carolina: Bryant 
II, 140, No. 105 — Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1296A — Kentucky: 
Carter, Mountain, 14; Price, 32; Rainey, 13; Sanders, 17; Shearin, 319 
— Tennessee: Carter, 2 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 83; No. 302 (warts 
caused by a secretion from a toad's skin) ; Wintemberg, German i, 
46 ; II, 90 ; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 36 ; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 7 — 
New England: Johnson, What They Say, 119 — New York: Gardner, 
No. 333; Webb, 100 — Pennsylvania: JBrendle-Unger, 64; Fogel, No. 
1729; Sener, 242 (by touching toads, or by touching anything over which 
a toad has hopped) — Indiana: Brewster, Beliefs, No. 201 ; Busse, 15, 
No. 3 — Illinois: Allison, No. 312; Hyatt, No. 4016 — Iowa: Stout, No. 
715 — Southzvest: Strecker, Reptiles, 60 — Kansas: Davenport. 129 — 
Nebraska: Cannell, 27, No. 48; Erickson, 153, No. i ; Nebraska Proverbs 
I, 9 — California: Dresslar, 45. 

2414 If one allows the urine of a toad to get on his hands, he 
will have many warts. 

Anonymous. North Carolina: Bruton, Beliefs, No. 48 — Mississippi: 
Puckett, 381 (Negro) — Pennsyhania: Fogel, No. 1730 (German) — 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 311 

Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4133 ; No. 4250 (let a toad wet on your wart to cure 
it) — Texas: Simmons, 193 (if children play with warty garden toads, 
and the toads wet on their hands, warts will grow all over them). 

2415 Touching the excrescences that sometimes appear on trees 
will cause warts on the hand of the person who touches them. 
Sue Hull (Indiana). Nezv England: Bergen, Current, No. 880. 

2416 The handling of large species of toadstool, sometimes 
popularly called "wart-toadstool," will cause warts to grow on 
the part of the hand coming in contact with it. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Nczv Hampshire: Bergen, Current, No. 881; 
Knortz, 49. 

2417 To count another person's warts will cause them to ap- 
pear on you. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Bergen, Current, No. 874; Knortz, 49 
— Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1814 — Ontario: Wintemberg, 
German i, 48; 11, 88; Wintemberg, Waterloo, 15 — Nezv York: Webb, 
100 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 66; Fogel, No. 1735 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4100; Norlin, 205, No. 14 — Texas: Woodhull, 71 — 
Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 57 (count oflf the number of warts you have on 
another's hands, touching the person's skin for each wart ; your warts 
will soon disappear and the other person will have them) — California: 

Dresslar, 107. Cf. Nos. 2672 flf., below. Lean 11, 518; Birlinger i, 

483. 

2418 If a person counts stars while lying on his back, he will 
have as many warts as he has counted stars. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Knortz, 49 — New York and New Jersey: Bergen, 
Current, No. 875 — Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 170, No. 260 (French) — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4019 (count the stars by pointing at them with a 
finger, and you will have a wart on that finger). Taboada, 45. 

2419 If you rub a wart every time you think of it, it will go 
away. 

Marjorie Ross, Craven county. There are references to rubbing warts 
from Pennsylvania to the Southwest, but "thinking" about them is not 
mentioned. 

2420 A man who is the father of seven sons can rub his hand 
upon a wart and it will disappear. 

Mabel Ballentine, Raleigh. Cf. No. 2421, below. 

2421 A seventh son can rub his hands on a wart and it will go 
away. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. Cf. Nezv York: Webb, 103 (the seventh 
son of a seventh son can blow off a wart) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4021 
(the seventh son of a seventh son is able to cure warts). 

2422 To cure a wart, pull the center seed out. 
Anonymous. 



312 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2423 Take a seed out of the wart, tie it up and throw it away. 
The person who picks it up will have the wart. 

Dixie V. Lamm, Lucama, Wilson county. Cf. South: Puckett, 380 (pull 
the seed out, tie it in a piece of paper and leave it in the street [Negro]). 

2424 To cure warts, cut your fingernails and put them in the 
knot hole of a tree ; then stop up the hole, wishing the warts on 
to someone else. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Connecticut : Bergen, Current, No. 903. 

2425 If you suck a wart every time you think of it, it will go 
away. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

2426 To get rid of a wart, spit on the ground and place a rock 
over the saliva. 

G. W. Allen (New York). Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 17, No. 18 
(spit on a rock and when you forget where it is the wart will disappear) ; 
Redfield, 157 (tell someone your whole name and they will go out and 
find a rock and spit under it for nine mornings, and your warts will 
leave) — New York: NYFQ in (1947), 257 (get a stone at midnight, 
spit on it, and put it on a rafter in the attic ; in eight weeks turn it over 
and observe discreetly). 

2427 Rub saliva on the wart, tie a string around the hand so 
that the knot comes on the wart. Take off the string and hide it 
in a hollow stump. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

2428 To cure warts, spit on the warts, rub them, and name a 
person. Those warts will go to the person named. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. Cf. the Tennessee item (Redfield) in 
No. 2426, above. 

2429 To cure a wart, wear (twist) a hair around it. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county, and Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person 
county. Ontario: Wintemberg, Grey, No. 161 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, 
No. 1703 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4141 (tie several strands 
from your combings around a wart and bury the hair ; after this hair 
has decayed the wart will disappear) — Texas: Berdau, 382 (tie hair 
around a wart when you see a rainbow in the sky ; when the rainbow 
dissolves, your wart will be gone) — Rio Grande: Bourke, 142 (essential- 
ly the same as the previous item). Cf. No. 2431, below. Addy, 88; 

Radford, 249. 

2430 To carry warts away, rub them with a kink of Negro's 
hair. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro. 

2431 Tie a horsehair around the wart, and cut it oflf. 

Green Collection. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1475 — Tennessee: Carter, 4; 
Frazier, 35, No. 19 — Ontario: Waugh, No. 328 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 64 (horsehair found hanging to a stump [German]) — 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 313 

Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4147 (bury the hair after tying it around the wart) ; 
No. 4148 (pull the knot in the hair around the wart tighter every morn- 
ing for nine days) — Texas: Guinn, 268 — Nebraska: Black, 28, No. 

66. Cf. No. 2429, above. Black, Folk-Medicine, 152; Hovorka- 

Kronfeld 11, 774. 

2432 Take a hair from a horse's mane, and wind it around the 
wart. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Ontario: Wintemberg, Oxford, No. 
17. Cf. Nos. 2429, 2431, above. 

2433 For warts, tie as many knots in a hair as you have warts, 
and throw the hair away. 

Anonymous. Black, Folk-Medicine, 185. Cf. No. 2429, above, 2439, 
below. 

2434 Take some strings, tie one around each wart. Then take 
it off from around the warts, and in about a month the warts 
will fall off. 

G. Hawfield, Concord, Cabarrus county, and Mamie Mansfield, Durham 
county. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4232 — Iowa: Stout, No. 726. 

2435 For warts, tie a string around them, and hang the string 
on the wall. When it rots the warts will leave. 

Green Collection. 

2436 An old Negro said he could cure my warts. He took 
some strings out of his pocket and tied one around each one of 
my warts and then took them off of the warts and put them in 
his pocketbook. He told me that in about a month they would 
be off. 

James Hawfield, Union county. Cf. Illinois: Norlin, 205, No. 25 (take 
a string and measure your warts ; then tie knots for each measurement 
and place the string in a vest-pocket, and the warts will disappear). 

2437 To cure a wart, tie a silk string around it, letting it slip 
over the wart and making a knot. Forget about it. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Forgetting about the string 
does not figure in any of the following examples ; moreover, in each case 
it is a silk thread, not a silk string: Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1476 (cut 
the wart with a silk thread); No. 1513 (black silk thread; when the 
thread wears out the wart will disappear) — Tennessee: Rogers, 33 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 510 (tie a silk thread around the wart and stick 
a hot needle into it) — • Noz'a Scotia: Creighton, 98, No. 92 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, No. 1704 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4249 (tie 
a silk thread around the wart until the blood stops) — Nebraska: 
Black, 27, No. 49 (keep pulling the thread tighter and tighter until the 
wart comes off) ; No. 46 (tie a silk thread around a wart; burn the rest 
of the thread and the wart will go away). 

2438 To cure warts, tie a knot in a string for each wart, and 
lose the string. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1528 (hide the string wnth 
knots in it in a place unknown to the afflicted person ; when the string 



314 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

rots, etc.) — Indiana: Bergen, Current, No. 926 (rub saliva on the 
wart, tie a string around the hand so that the knot comes on the wart; 
take the string off and hide it in a hollow stump) . 

2439 Steal string, tie as many knots in it as there are warts to 
remove, then bury the string. 

Ella Smith, Yadkin county. All of the following examples involve the 
tying of knots and burial of some sort ; only the Brinton reference 
(Pennsylvania) specifies that the string be stolen. South: Puckett, 
380 (Negro) — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 139, No. 99 (under a stone) 
— Kentucky: Price, 32 (under a stone) ; Sanders, 17 — Tennessee: 
McGlasson, 17, No. 16 (tie a wart in a wool string and hide it under a 
rock) ; Rogers, 34 — Ontario: Wintemberg, Oxford, No. 21 — New 
England: Johnson, What They Say, 121 f. (count your warts and tie as 
many knots, etc. ; then bury, and dig up once a week until the time comes 
when it has so decayed you can't find the string any more) — Pennsyl- 
vania: Brinton, 183 (stolen string) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 41, 
No. II — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4237; No. 4238 (under a board) ; Norlin, 
205, No. 22 ; Smith 11, 70, No. 26 (take the string to a crossroads and 
bury it) — loiva: Stout, No. 743; No. 721 (have a friend tie a knot 
around each wart; then have him slip the knots off the warts, tighten 
the knots, and bury the string in a place known only to himself ; when the 
string rots, etc.) ; No. 781 (knots in black string after counting the 
warts) ; No. 794 (tie as many knots in a long string as you have warts; 
then prick each wart until it bleeds, and drop some of the blood upon 
each knot; then bury, etc.) ; No. 818 (tie a loop in a string, lay the loop 
around the wart ; then place the string under a stone, and when the string 
has rotted away, the wart will be gone) — Oklahoma: Smith, Folk 
Ctires, 80 (under the doorstep) — Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 52; No. 
48 (under a hog trough ; let no one see you do it or know of it) — New 

Mexico: Baylor, 149, No. 3 (under a rock [Spanish]). Hovorka- 

Kronfeld 11, 770 1, 774. 

2440 To remove warts, take a string and tie as many knots as 
you have warts. Place it where the rain drops off the house, 
and place some dirt on it. In three days the warts will be re- 
moved. 

Green Collection. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 508 (tie as many knots 
in a string as you have warts, and bury it in a damp spot under a bridge). 

2441 Warts are cured by tying a knot in a string for every 
wart, and putting it under the eaves of the house. The warts 
will go as the string rots. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. Sue Hull (Indiana), and an anony- 
mous informant. South: Puckett, 380 (Negro) — Kentucky: Stuart, 
6 (under the drip of the house) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 66 
(German) ; Fogel, No. 1736 (German) — Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 
928; Knortz, 50 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4239 — Nebraska: Black, 27, 

No. 50 (when it rains, the warts will go). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 

773 f. 

2442 Tie a knot in a string for every wart you have, and put it 
under a chip without letting anyone see you do it. Throw it in 
the fire. 

Green Collection. 



superstitions: iiody, folk mkdicine 315 

2443 If you find an old bone in the field, rub the wart with it 
and then lay it down exactly as you found it. 

Eva Furr, Stanly county; Sue Hull (Indiana); and an anonymous in- 
formant. In only the Maine version is it specified that the bone is 
found in a field. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 45 — Alabama: Bergen, 
Current, No. 888 — Maine: Bergen, Current, No. 887 — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 68 (German) ; Fogel, No. 1713 (German) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4063; Norlin, 205, No. 26 — Nebraska: Black, 25, No. 10 
(hunt until you find a bone under a tree, then, after rubbing the wart with 
it, put it back in its identical position) — Kansas: Davenport, 131 — 
Neiu Mexico: Baylor, 149, No. 6 (Spanish) — California: Dresslar, 
109. Wuttke, 341. 

2444 If you find a bone in the yard, pick it up, take twelve 
steps straight forward, then throw it over your left shoul- 
der, and then bury the bone. [Warts mentioned in heading.] 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. The following references 
have two or more common elements: Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4065 — 

Iowa: Stout, No. 762 — California: Dresslar, 109. Hovorka-Kronfeld 

II, 772. 

2445 To cure warts, take the bone of an animal found in the 
woods, rub it on the warts, place back in the same position in 
which you found it, and leave without looking back. If you 
follow this carefully you can surely cure warts. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. Mississippi: 
Hudson, 153, No. 4 (find an old bone, make a cross on the wart with it, 
replace it exactly as you found it, and go away without looking back). 

2446 If you want to take off a wart, go out in the woods and 
find an old bone and rub it on the wart. Then lay it in exactly 
the same spot, walk across it and do not look back, and the wart 
will disappear. 

Mr. Fairly. 

2447 Warts may be removed by finding the old bone of some 
animal, and rubbing the warts against the side found next to the 
ground. When the operation is performed, place the bone back 
in the same position, and in the exact place from which it was 
taken, and take to your heels, and never go back to that place 
again under penalty of having the warts return if the admoni- 
tion is violated. 

Reverend L. D. Hayman, Hyde and Dare counties. The following 
references all differ in details, but have in common the side of the bone 
lying next to the ground: Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1441 (the underside 
of a round or ring bone) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4064 — Texas: Wood- 
hull, 71 f. — Nebraska: Black, 25, No. 9. 

2448 Take a bone that has recently been gnawed by a dog; go 
to a ditch and get a piece of paper, rag, or straw (paper pref- 
erably) out of the ditch ; wrap it around the bone; dig a hole in 



3l6 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

the side of the ditch with your heel; put the bone in it, and 
sprinkle a little dirt over it ; then spit on the wart ; take some 
dirt and rub the saliva away ; put the dirt on top of the bone. 
Then bury, and the wart will disappear. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

2449 If you go to a place where you've never been and expect 
never to return to, rub an old bone over the warts, throwing the 
bone over the left shoulder when finished, and being sure to not 
look at it again. Warts are sure to disappear soon after this 
treatment. 

Melick Blades, Apex, Wake county. 

2450 By putting a dead cat in a tree stump one can remove 
warts. 

Paul O. Hudson, Mooresville, Iredell county. Cf. Knortz, 49 (kill a 
cat, put it in a black stocking, and bury it) — New York: NYFQ ill 
(1947), 357 (steal a black cat and bury it at midnight) — Indiana: 
Halpert, Warts, 42 (dip a dead cat in stump water, twirl it around the 
head and throw it away) — Iowa: Stout, No. 746 (kill a black cat and 
bury it at midmight). 

2451 If one takes a dead black cat into a graveyard at midnight, 
and, when he hears a noise, throws the cat by the tail at the 
sound — that will take warts off his hands. 

Green Collection. All of the following items involve various rituals with 
dead cats (or dead black cats) at midnight (or night) ; only the 
Tennessee item (Rogers) involves actual verbalism, but one should con- 
sult the Farr item, too. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1442 — Tennessee: 
Farr, Riddles, No. 44 (take a black cat to the cemetery at midnight; 
when the devil comes to get his people, command the cat to follow the 
devil ; command the warts to follow the cat) ; Rogers, 33 (throw the 
cat on the grave of some person who had a reputation for meanness ; as 
the cat was tossed, the visitant repeated, "Cat, follow ghost ; warts, follow 
cat; I'm through with you") — Illinois: Hyatt, Nos. 4116 fif. — lozva: 
Stout, No. 779 — Ozarks: Randolph, 130 f. (at night) — Texas: 
Bogusch, 125; Woodhull, 71 — Nebraska: Black, 28, No. 85; Erickson, 
153- 

2452 Take the lining of a chicken gizzard and rub it on a wart ; 
then put it under a flint rock and don't look back. Continue 
until the wart disappears. 

Green Collection. Flint does not figure in the following "gizzard lining" 
cures. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1446 — Tennessee: McGlasson, 17, No. 
8 (hide it until it rots); Redfield, No. 156; Rogers, 34 (buried) — 
Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 40, No. 6 (rub over wart the same way three 
times) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4076 (stick wart until it bleeds, and then 
rub it with the inside of a chicken gizzard lining) ; No. 4077 (twist a 
chicken gizzard three times above your head and throw the gizzard away 

as you depart without looking back). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 772 

(flint only). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 317 

2453 If you will rub a frog over the wart it will go away. 

Merle Smith, Stanly county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4138 (kill a frog 
and while the legs arc still twitching, cut off one of them and rub over 

your wart; then throw away the leg). Cf. No. 2410, above. 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 774; Radford, 127, 248. 

2454 A live frog cut into two pieces, and applied hot, will re- 
move warts. 

F. C. Brown, Durham. Cf. Nos. 2410, 2453, above. 

2455 A way to get rid of warts is to let a grasshopper bite them. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen County. Ontario: Wintemberg, Toronto, No. 
36 — Neiv York: Wart Remedies, 258 (green grasshopper) ; Webb, 102 
— lozva: Stout No. 714 (green grasshopper) — Osarks: Randolph, 130 
(also a katydid). HDA in, 1827; Storaker, Sygdom, No. 393. 

2456 Grasshopper's molasses is a wart cure. 

Green Collection. Ontario: Waugh, No. 294 (also locust) ; Wintemberg, 
Oxford, No. 22 — Iowa: Stout, No. 643. HDA iii, 1827. 

2457 Take a piece of horse manure and put it on a stump; 
when the manure is gone the wart will be gone. 

Merle Smith, Stanly county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4146 (the dirt 
from off the bottom of a horse's foot, thrown over your shoulder ; when 
the rain comes and melts the dirt your wart will go away). Hovorka- 
Kronfeld II, 774; Storaker, Sygdom, No. 381 (both items horse's urine). 

2458 Rub raw meat on the warts and throw it away. Then 
you will have no warts. 

Mildred Peterson, Bladen county. Indiana: Halpert, Warts, 38 — Texas: 
Bogusch, 124. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 771 : Storaker, Sygdom, No. 381. 

2459 To take off warts, rub them with a meatskin and throw it 
away. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county. 

2460 If you rub a meatskin on a wart and then go hang the 
meatskin on a tree the wart will go away. 

Sarah K. Watkins, Anson and Stanly counties. 

2461 A person's warts will disappear if he buries a piece of raw 
beef under the eaves of the house and never looks back at it. 

Jane N. Ray, Meredith College, and Ada Briggs (Virginia). Kentucky: 
Thomas, No. 1479 (steal a piece of meat, grease the warts, and bury 
the meat under the eaves of a house) ; Pennsylvania: Owens, 124 
(stolen meat) — loiva: Stout, No. 783 (rub meat rinds on the warts; 
then hang the rinds under the eaves, where the water will fall on them ; 

and the warts will disappear). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, yjz (with a 

charm spoken at the toning of the death bell). 



3l8 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2462 Rub a piece of meat on the wart and bury the meat under 
a rock in running water. 

Susie Spurgeon Jordan, Brevard, Transylvania county. Cf. Nebraska: 
Black, 26, No. 20 (rub the wart with a piece of raw meat, and bury the 
meat under a stone where water drips; when the meat decays, etc.). 

2463 To cure warts, steal a meatskin, rub it on the warts, then 

hide the skin. Be sure not to tell anyone, and your warts will 

disappear. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught. Alexander county. Cf. Indiana: Halpert, 
Warts, 38 (hiding not specified). 

2464 To cure a wart, steal a piece of meat, rub it on the wart 
and hide it under a rock. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia), and E. R. Albertgotti (South Carolina). Vir- 
ginia: Martin, No. 27 — New York: Chamberlain, Folk- Lore, 336 
(secrete it under a stone) — Pennsylvania: Brinton, 183 (under a stone). 
Cf. No. 2469, below. 

2465 For warts, steal a piece of meat, rub it over the wart, 
give it to someone else, and the warts will disappear. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county. 

2466 To remove a wart, steal a piece of fat meat and grease 
the wart. Throw the meat away, and in ten days the wart will 
disappear. 

Green Collection. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 509 (throw it where a 
dog will find it and eat it). Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 770; Udal 221. 

2467 If you steal a piece of meat and rub it on a wart, then 
bury it, the wart will get well. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 
506 ; No. 505 (bury it where the rain dripping from the house will fall on 
it) — Illinois: Norlin, 205, No. 18 (bury under the front door, being 
careful not to glance backward while leaving the place) — California: 
Dresslar, 108 (bury it where three roads cross). Black, Folk- 
Medicine, 56 (under a gateway at four lane ends) ; Radford, 247. 

2468 Steal a meatskin and grease a wart ; then hide the meat- 
skin, and when it rots the wart will disappear. 

Reverend William S. Smith, Cornelius, Mecklenburg county. 

2469 To cure a wart, grease it with stolen bacon, and hide the 
latter. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Bergen, Current. No. 883; Knortz, 49 — 
loiva: Stout, No. 812 (hide under eaves of a house). Cf. No. 2464, 
above. Black, Folk-Medicine, 38 ; Napier, 97. 

2470 You may rub your wart with a piece of bacon and then 
bury it, and rest assured that the wart will disappear before the 
bacon rots. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1432 (bury secretly) — 
Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1746 (stolen bacon) — Pennsylvania: 
Brendle-Unger, 65 (bury under eaves [German]) ; Fogel, No. 1723; No. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 319 

1722 (in the decrease of the moon, and bury under the eaves [German]) ; 
Grumbine, 279 (rub them with a piece of bacon rind with which the top 
crust of the newly baked loaves of bread had been greased as they came 
out of the oven; and bury under the eaves) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4034; 
No. 4033 (in decrease of the moon) ; No. 4035 (tic a piece of bacon over 
a wart and let it remain for one night ; next morning bury the bacon on 
the east side of the house) — Iowa: Stout, No. 750; No. 787 (steal some 
fried bacon) — Texas: Bogusch, 125 (buried where the water from 
the eaves can drip on it) ; Turner, 167 — Nebraska: Black, 26, No. 

25 — Idaho: Lore, 216 — California: Dresslar, 108. Hovorka- 

Kronfeld 11, 771 (rub crosswise with stolen bacon). 

2471 Rub your warts with a piece of stolen sow meat, then 
bury the meat under a stone. 

Anonymous. Neiv York: Webb, 105 — Pennsylvania: Phillips, 163, 
No. 13 (bacon, not stolen, buried under a stone) — lozva: Stout, No. 712 
(buried beneath two bricks) ; No. 736 (placed under a stone [bacon not 
stolen in either Iowa item]) — Oklahoma: Smith, Animals, Ji (stolen 
rind hidden under a stone and forgotten) ; Smith, Folk Cures, 80 f. (same 
as previous) — Nebraska: Black, 26, No. 26 (fried bacon stolen from 
one's mother and placed between bricks). 

2472 Steal a piece of very fat pork and rub it over each of your 
warts. Hide the meat under a rock, and as it decays the warts 
will disappear. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. Cf. Nova Scotia: Fauset, No. 329 (pork 
rind hidden under a wall when no one sees you) — Ontario: Wintem- 
berg, German 1, 48 (buried under the eaves) ; 11, 88 (under eaves) ; 
Wintemberg, Waterloo, 15 (under eaves) — N eiv York: Gardner, No. 
61 (stolen pork buried) — Nebraska: Black, 26, No. 21 (fat pork between 
two boards and boards placed under the eaves [no rubbing of the wart 
is mentioned]) — California: Dresslar, 109 (pork stolen from nearest 
neighbor and buried ten feet from the neighbor's house). 

2473 Warts are cured by stealing pork from the family barrel 
of salted pork, rubbing the warts with it, and throwing it into 
the road. The person who picks it up gets the warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). New York: Bergen, Current, No. 901 (stolen 
pork rubbed on warts and thrown away). 

2474 To cure warts, rub them with salt meat. 

Constance Patten, Greensboro. Cf. Quebec: Marie-Ursule, 181, No. 189 
(wart rubbed with salt pork in the evening and thrown away without 
watching where it falls [French]) — Indiana: Halpert, Warts, 38 — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 773 (pork buried after rubbing) — Kansas: Davenport, 
131 (salty bacon [pork], buried secretly with a spade, and the act kept 
secret). 

2475 To cure warts, wash your hands in warm pig's blood. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Nova Scotia: Bergen, Current, No. 913. 

Napier, 97. 

2476 Binding a slug on a wart will cure it. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). New York: Bergen, Current, No. 920. 



320 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2477 To cure warts, rub a snail on the wart and it will go 
away. 

Julian P. Boyd, and Sue Hull (Indiana). Patten, 140 (rubbed with a 
black snail later impaled upon a hawthorn) — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1514 (rub the warts with a snail obtained from the woods; place the 
snail on a stick, and when the snail crawls away from the stick, the 
warts will be gone) — Ontario: Wintemberg, Toronto, No. 35 (a black 
snail rubbed on the wart and then thrown in a hedge) — New England: 
Johnson, IVhat They Say, 117 (throw the snail away, and when it withers 
to nothing, the wart will have gone too) — Indiana: Halpert, Warts, 

40 — Iowa: Stout, No. 723 (throw the snail away). Addy, 89; Black, 

Folk-Medicine, 56, 119, 157 f . ; Napier, 97; Radford, 41 f., 247; Thomp- 
son, Ireland, 227; HDA vii, 1266; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 771. 

2478 Kill a toad and put its blood on the wart. The wart will 
go away in three weeks. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Michigan: Knortz, 50 — Osarks: Randolph, 131 
(toad's intestines bound on a wart, and kept secret). 

2479 Catch a mole, allow it to die in your hands, and you will 
be able to cure warts. 

Anonymous. Cf. Osarks: Randolph, 130. 

2480 Rub the warts with the sole of your shoe ; as the leather 
wears away, the warts depart. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 41 (pick the 
wart with a wooden shoe peg ; letting the wart bleed on the peg ; drive 
the peg in a beech tree, and the wart will disappear) — Massachusetts: 
Bergen, Current, No. 921 — Neiv York: Wart Remedies, 258 — Penn- 
sylvania: Brendie-Unger, 68 (rub the wart with the sole of your shoe, 
preferably the right foot, and walk away [German]); Fogel, No. 1709 
(German) — Indiana: Halpert, Warts 42 (bury an old shoe) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 785 (sole of a new shoe) — Nebraska: Black, 29, No. 90. 
HDA VII, 1342. 

2481 To remove warts, go to some secluded spot alone, rip back 
a small portion of the bark, rub the wart on the skinned place, 
and then smooth back the bark. Leave at once, and never pass 
that place again ; if you do, the warts will return. 

Reverend L. D. Hayman, Hyde and Dare counties. 

2482 Beans rubbed on a wart and thrown in the well will cure 
a wart. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Knortz, 49 (thrown into a stream) — Maine: 
Bergen, Current, No. 885 — Nezv York: Webb, loi (split the bean 
first) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4051 (split a lima bean in half, rub it on 
your wart, and toss it into a well, etc.) ; No. 4044 (drop the bean into a 
water-closet) ; No. 4048 (place the bean where the water can drip on it; 
as the bean starts to sprout, etc.) — loiva: Stout, No. 731 — Texas: 
Turner, 167. 

2483 Split a bean and put one of the halves on the wart, and 
the other in the ground. At the end of the week dig up the 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 321 

latter, place on the wart with the other half, and liury again. 
This will cure the wart. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Nciu York: Webb, 103 (slit the bean and rub 
it on your wart, afterward planting the bean under a stone) — Pennsyl- 
vania: Fogel, No. 1688 (slit a bean and rub it over the wart) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 730 (take a bean and split it; rub one half over the warts and 
hide the other half in the rocks) — Kansas: Davenport, 130 (cut a bean 
into halves ; rub the wart with one half of the bean, bury that half, and 
throw the other half into the fire). 

2484 To cure warts, get some snap bean (string bean) leaves 
and rub them on the wart. Then walk backwards five steps, dig 
a hole, and bury the leaves. Never look at the spot again, and 
the warts will go away. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 6 (grease a bean 
leaf and rub it on the warts ; then bury the leaf at the root of the bean 
stalk it was plucked from) ; Thomas, No. 1440 (get nine bean leaves 
and rub them nine times over your wart ; then bury them where they will 
rot) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4057 (pluck a bean leaf and let someone rub 
it over your wart ; then have the same person bury the leaf secretly) ; 
No. 4055 (rub wart with a bean leaf secretly plucked; then bury, etc.) — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 799 (take three yellow bean leaves and rub them on 
the wart until the leaves are in little bits ; bury the leaves and when they 
are decayed, etc.) 

2485 To cure warts, rub white beans over the warts and stick 
the beans in the mud. 

Bessie Lou Mull, Shelby, Cleveland county. There are numerous ex- 
amples of rubbing beans and split beans over warts, and then burying 
them in a variety of places, but nothing so specific as the present item. 

2486 Rub a white bean on the warts, wrap it in paper, and 
throw it on the road. Whoever picks it up will get the warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. N'ezv England: Johnson, JVhat They Say, 118 
(halves of a bean which have been rubbed on warts are done up in a 
pretty package and put in a likely place for someone to pick up) — 
Maine: Decrow, 320 (stolen beans, rubbed on wart, and put in a likely 
place, etc.) — Connecticut : Bergen, Current, No. 886 — Indiana: Hal- 
pert, Warts, 41 (a bean for each wart you have, put into a sack and 
dropped somewhere, etc.) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4053 (beans for as 
many warts as you have, put in a sack and placed at the intersection of 
two streets [no mention of rubbing]) ; No. 4054 (let the grocer lay out 
nine white beans ; lift up one bean at a time, rubbing it over your wart ; 
then place in a sack, and casually drop it as you take a walk) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 740 (beans placed in a sack and thrown away) ; No. 716 
(navy beans tied in a sack and thrown on a walk or path) ; No. 778 
(rub each wart with a separate bean ; then place the beans in a fancy 
sack and drop in the road). 

2487 To cure warts, put castor oil on them for nine nights (two 
weeks) in succession. 

Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and Mary Scarborough, 
Wanchese, Dare county. Kentucky: Fowler, No. 1445a; Thomas, No. 
144s (time not specified) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 17, No. 15 (nine 



322 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

days) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4068 (twice a day) ; No. 4069 (three 
mornings and evenings) ; No. 4070 (nightly for seven nights) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 822 (time not specified). 

2488 Rub a wart with the yellow milky juice of (wild) celan- 
dine. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Nezv Hampshire: Bergen, Current, No. 890 — 
Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 889 — Pennsylvania: Brendle- 
Unger, 64 (cut off the top of a wart and rub with the juice of celandine 

[German]); Fogel, No. 1681 (German); Lick-Brendle, 215. 

Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 771 fif. 

2489 Rub the wart with a green grain of corn which has been 
split. Bury the corn, and when it decays, the wart will go away. 

Julian P. Boyd. In the following references no mention is made of green 
grains of corn, nor of split corn. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 66 
(bury under the eaves [German]) ; Fogel, No. 1693 (under eaves [Ger- 
man]) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4099 (rub with nine grains of corn, and 
bury) — loiva: Stout, No. 800. 

2490 To cure warts, tie a soaked grain of corn on the wart, 
and then throw the corn away. 

Anonymous. 

2491 Plant as many grains of corn as you have warts so deep 
that they will never germinate and come up. 

Anonymous. 

2492 If you count the warts, then take a grain of corn and 
touch each one, they will go away. 

Marjorie Rea, Craven county. 

2493 Take three grains of corn and rub the small end of each 
grain around a wart five times. Shake the corn together over 
the head of the person with warts, walk ofT without speaking or 
looking at him, and the wart will disappear. 

Green Collection. 

2494 To remove warts, rub a different grain of corn on each 
wart and wrap the corn in a package and throw it away. The 
person who picks up the package will get the warts, and they 
will leave the other person. 

Robert E. Long, Roxboro, Person county. Rubbing different grains of 
corn is not mentioned in the following examples: South: Puckett, 380 
(wrap the corn up in a package and drop in the road [Negro]) — South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 140, No. 104 (rub the wart with a corncob; tie 
up the cob in paper and throw it away, and if the parcel is picked up, the 
wart will disappear) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4093 (pitch the corn over your 
head without looking back) — Kansas: Davenport, 129 (put into a red 
calico bag hearts from grains of corn ; run down the road, throw away the 
bag, not looking where it falls ; run home again, and if anyone picks up 
the bag, etc.) 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 323 

2495 Pick the wart and rub a grain of corn on it. Place the 
grain of corn in the road. 

Dorothy M. Vann, Raleigh. Cf. Indiana: Halpert, Warts, 39 (pick warts 
until they bleed, then rub grains of corn on them [no mention of dis- 
posal] ). 

2496 Count your warts, put a grain of corn for every wart in a 
tobacco sack, put it at a crossroads, and the person who picks it 
up will have the warts. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. Cf. Iowa: Stout, No. 2496 
(count your warts ; then take as many grains of corn as you have warts 
and rub the corn over them ; after that tie the corn in a neat package 
and lay it on the street; the person who picks up the package, etc.). 

2497 To cure a wart, rub a grain of corn over it ; then feed it 
to a chicken. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1449 (seven grains of corn fed 
to the neighbor's chickens) — New York: Wart Remedies, 258 (seven 
grains of corn fed to the neighbor's chicken) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4096 (six grains of corn fed to a speckled hen) ; No. 4097 (seven grains 
of corn fed to the neighbor's chickens) ; Norlin, 205, No. 19 — Nebraska: 
Black, 25, No. 14 (touch seventeen different kernels of corn to each wart, 
and feed to the chickens; if they eat the corn, etc.) ; 26, No. 18 (pick 
the wart open and rub it with the pulp inside a kernel of corn ; then 
feed to a chicken) — Washington: Tacoma, 19 (rub wart with a kernel 
of corn and throw it out into the dooryard for the chickens). 

2498 Rub warts with grain of red corn and let a black chicken 
eat it, or them, as the case may be, for a grain must be used for 
each wart. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. 

2499 Grease a grain of corn and rub over each wart. Then 
feed the corn to chickens, and the warts will leave. 

Anonymous, and I. T. Poole, Burke county. 

2500 To get rid of a wart pick it with a grain of corn and 
throw the corn away. When a chicken eats the corn the wart 
will go away. 

Louise F. Watkins, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. New England: 
Johnson, What They Say, 117 (throw the corn out into the dooryard). 

2501 To cure a wart, grease it with lard ; pick it. and let it 
bleed on a grain of corn. Feed the corn to a chicken. 
Elizabeth Janet Cromartie, Garland, Sampson county. 

2502 Pick a wart until it bleeds, and then get a grain of corn 
with blood on it ; throw the corn to a chicken and watch the 
chicken eat it. 

Julian P. Boyd, and ten other informants from widely separated locali- 
ties. In one of the following references it is specified that the chicken 



324 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

should be watched as it eats the corn. In cures involving transference 
of the disease to animals it is far more customary, of course, for the 
person not to look. South: Duncan, 234, No. 10 — Kentucky: Price, 31 
(pick the wart with a needle, put the blood on a grain of corn— in the 
crease at the side of the grain — and feed it to a fully grown chicken, 
etc.) — Tennessee: Farr, Riddles, No. 52 (wipe the blood on a grain of 
corn) ; Farr, Superstitions, No. 53; McGlasson, 17, No. i ; Redfield, No. 
149 (take as many grains of corn as you have warts, prick the warts and 
let a drop of blood fall on each grain, and let a chicken eat the corn ; in 
a few days, etc.) — Mississippi: Hudson, 153, No. 2 (two drops of 
blood) ; No. i (pick the wart with a pin until it bleeds, smear a little 
blood on a grain of corn, and feed the corn to a black hen) — Indiana: 
Brewster, Cures, 40, No. 8 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4085 (a grain of corn 
rubbed over a wart until the blood is drawn, and then fed to a chicken, 
will drive off a wart) — Texas: Woodhull, 72 (fed to a black hen) — 
Idaho: Lore, 216. Cf. No. 2506, below. 

2503 For warts, split a grain of corn, get a drop of blood from 
the wart on it, and give the corn to a chicken. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county. Cf. Georgia: Steiner, 
No. 83 (take a grain of corn, eat out the heart or white kernel, strike 
or cut the wart until it bleeds ; then take a drop of the blood, put it on 
the corn where the heart was taken out, and throw the grain to a 
chicken) . 

2504 To make a wart disappear, pick it until it bleeds, rub three 
grains of corn over it, and feed the corn to the chickens. 

Ada Briggs (Virginia). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1455 (put the blood 
on seven grains of corn, and feed them to one chicken) ; Stuart, 6 (as 
many grains of corn as there are warts on your hand) — Illinois: 
Fox, 7 (a wart is gouged with a thorn until it bleeds; a drop of blood 
is placed upon each of seven grains of white corn ; each day one of these 
grains is fed to a black hen, and on the seventh day the wart is alleged 
to disappear). 

2505 Pick your warts, let a drop of blood fall on a grain of 
red corn, feed the corn to a chicken, and the warts will dis- 
appear. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county ; Annie Hamlin, Durham 
county ; and an anonymous informant. 

2506 Pick your wart with a (red) grain of corn until it bleeds, 
throw it at a rooster, watch him eat it, and the wart will go 
away. 

Margaret Higgs, Greenville, Pitt county, and three other informants from 
central counties. Only the first Kentucky item (no. 1451) specifies a 
grain of red corn ; and no item indicates that the devouring of the corn 
should be watched. On this point cf. No. 2502, above. South Carolina: 
Bryant n, 139, No. 96 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1451 (red grain of 
corn, smeared with blood, fed to a red rooster) ; No. 1454 (pick the 
largest or "seed" wart with a needle until it bleeds ; then take as many 
grains of corn as you have warts and put a drop of blood on each ; feed 
these to a rooster) — Tennessee: Rogers, 32 (red rooster preferred, 
but any colored rooster would do) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4092 (thrust 
a pin into a wart and cover several grains of corn with the blood ; feed 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 325 

to an old rooster) ; No. 4169 (scratch the largest wart with a needle, 
and place a drop of blood on as many grains of corn as there are warts ; 
then feed to a rooster) — Ocarks: Randolph, 129 (squeeze a drop of 
blood out of a wart onto a grain of corn and feed to a red rooster). 

2507 Pick a wart until it bleeds, get some of the blood from it 
on a grain of corn, throw the kernel over the right shoulder to 
a chicken, and if the chicken eats it, the wart will disappear. 

Carl G. Knox, Leland, Brunswick county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4089 
(over the left shoulder). 

2508 Get some blood from the wart by rubbing it with corn- 
bread, and give this to a chicken. The wart will go away. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2509 Get some blood from a wart, put it on a pea, and feed 
the pea to a rooster. The wart will disappear. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

2510 To remove warts, catch a rooster and with a knife cut 
the rooster's foot enough to make it bleed. Put some of the 
blood on a grain of corn, and then rub the wart with this grain 
of corn. Then feed the rooster the same corn. 

S. G. Hawfield, Concord, Cabarrus county. 

251 1 Pick the seed out of the wart, put it in a grain of corn 
and give it to a gander. 

Charles R. Bagley (New Hampshire). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1452 
(pick the wart, put the blood from it on a grain of corn, and give it to 
a gander). 

2512 Rub corn on warts and feed the corn to turkeys. 
Susie Spurgeon Jordan, Brevard, Transylvania county. 

2513 If you have warts, pick them until they begin bleeding; 
then get a grain of corn and tie it to them, and they will go away, 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county. 

2514 Cut a wart until it bleeds, put a grain of corn on it, and 
bury the grain. The wart will go away. 

Green Collection, and Ada Briggs (Virginia). Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4088; No. 4087 (have someone bury the corn where you cannot find it). 

2515 Pick the wart until it bleeds, rub some blood on a grain 
of corn and throw it over your right shoulder, and never look 
back. The warts will soon be carried away. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4090 
(left shoulder). 



226 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2516 Prick your wart until it bleeds, take a drop of the blood 
and put it on two grains of corn, wrap this up in a package, and 
throw it into the middle of the road, and the first person coming 
along will get your wart. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. Cf. South: Puckett, 380 (deposit the 
blood from the wart in a grain of corn from which you have picked the 
soft kernel ; do up the corn in a bundle and place it in the fork of the 
road; whoever picks up the bundle, etc. [Negro]). 

2517 To carry away a wart, cut open a grain of corn and put 
some blood from the wart between it ; then tie the corn up in a 
piece of paper, and drop it in the crossroad. The person who 
picks it up will have the wart. 

Edna Beasley, Louisburg, Franklin county. 

2518 Rub a corn shuck on the wart, and bury the shuck. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Texas: Woodhull, 71 (stick a pin in a wart, wrap 
the pin in a shuck, and put the shuck in the road ; the first person that 
steps on the shuck will get the wart transferred to him). 

2519 Cut the wart and put blood from it on several pieces of 
corn stalk. Distribute the pieces over a large area. The first 
person who picks up a piece of the corn stalk will have your 
wart. 

Margarite Higgs, Greenville, Pitt county. 

2520 To cure warts, place a piece of cornbread which will 
sweat on your warts. 

Anonymous. 

2521 The milky juice of the common cypress spurge will cure 
warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Bergen, Current, No. 893. 

2522 Dandelion juice will cure warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1460 — Massachusetts: 
Bergen, Current, No. 891 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 64 (cut ofT the 
top of the wart and rub with dandelion [German]) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4102 (rub a fresh dandelion stem over the wart each morning for 
three days). Black, Folk-Medicine, 199. 

2523 Rub the milk from the root of a fig tree on the wart, ana 
throw away the root. When the root drys up, the wart will 
disappear. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Cf. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 502 (cut a 
notch on a fig tree for every wart you have ; tell no one about it, and 
the warts will go away) ; No. 514 (rub warts with the milk from fig 
trees). Cf. No. 2524, below. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 327 

2524 To cure a wart, cut off the top of the wart and apply fig 
juice. 

Anonymous. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, ^^^J) f. ; Taboada, 45. 

2525 Take the leaf of a house leek, split it in two, and bind it to 
the wart to cure it. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 64 (cut 
off the top of the wart and rub with house leek [German]). 

2526 To remove a wart, collect seven different kinds of leaves, 
rub each on the wart twice, and bury them where they will never 
be found. The warts will disappear. 

Green Collection. 

2527 Keep an application of milkweed juice on the wart, and 
it will go away in several days. 

Two anonymous informants from Bladen and Durham counties, J. M. 
Keech (Florida), and Sue Hull (Indiana). South Carolina: Bryant 11, 
139, No. 97 (scratch the top of the wart; then break off a piece of 
milkweed and rub the milky liquid on the wart) — West Virginia: 
WVF I, No. I [p. 14], No. I (bury the milkweed after the application) 
— Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1480 (cured by the next morning) — Ten- 
nessee: O'Dell, Superstitions, 3 — Ontario: Doering, Folk Medicine, 
197 (German); Waugh, No. 294; Wintemberg, Grey, No. 162; Win- 
temberg, Toronto, No. 32 — Nezu England: Johnson, IVhat They Say, 
116 (bury the milkweed after application) ; ibid, (others say that juice of 
milkweed will make you have warts) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Cur- 
rent, No. 894 — New York: Webb, 99 (break off a milkweed stem and 
press out a drop of milk on every wart ; then throw the stem away and 
forget where you threw it) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 64 (Ger- 
man) ; Fogel, No. 1689 (German); Grumbine, 279; Lick-Brendle, 223 
(German) ; Sener, 240 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4158; No. 4159 (off within 
twenty-four hours) ; No. 4160 (walk up to a milkweed, break off a piece 
of the plant and rub the juice on your wart; then throw the milkweed over 
your left shoulder without looking back, and the wart will soon leave) — 
Iowa: Stout, No. 709 (scratch the top of the wart before the applica- 
tion) ; No. 823 (stalk thrown backward over the shoulder after applica- 
tion; the remedy will fail if one turns and looks to see where it goes) — 
Texas: Bogusch, 125; Simmons, 193; Woodhull, 70 - — Nebraska: Black 

28, No. 83 — Idaho: Lore, 216 HDA ix, 798; Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 

77^ ff. 

2528 The juice of milk thistles will cure warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Prince Edivard Island: Bergen, Current, No. 895. 

2529 Burn the bark of an oak tree until the ashes are like 
feathers ; then place them on the wart. A cure will result. 

Anonymous. 

2530 To remove warts, split an onion, let it get into your eye 
making it water. Put the water on the wart, and it will dis- 
appear in three days. 

Green Collection. 



328 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2531 To cure warts, rub the wart with two halves of an onion, 
put the two halves together, and place them under the dripping 
eaves. As the onion decays, the wart will disappear. 

Anonymous. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1798 (rejoining 
halves omitted) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 66 (rejoining halves 
omitted [German]); Fogel, No. 1675 (German); Grumbine, 279; Lick- 
Brendle, 229 (rejoining halves not mentioned [German]) ; Owens, 124 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4180; No. 4181 (same as the foregoing item except 
that the act of burying is attended by saying, "In the Name of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost") — Iowa: Stout, No. 788. HDA ix, 



2532 Cut up an onion, rub the wart with each slice, and bury all 
the slices. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Pennsylvania: Bergen, Current, No. 905. Burial 
of the onion figures in all other references even though other conditions 
are not met. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 503 (throw one half away, but 
rub the other half of the onion on the wart) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4178 
— lotva: Stout, No. 758 (rub one half on the wart only) ; No. 782 
(buried in the earth for seven days ; then dug up and thrown over the 
left shoulder at sunset) — Osarks: Randolph, 129 f. — Texas: Bogusch, 
124. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 774. 

2533 The milky juice of the Osage orange is used as a wart 
cure. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 896 — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4183; No. 4184 (anoint your wart three times with the 
milk from a "hedge ball" [osage orange] ; then bury the latter, and when 
it rots, etc.). 

2534 Rub each wart with a pea and bury the peas, unobserved, 
in the garden. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 380 — Ontario: 
Waugh, 324 (steal a pod of green peas at midnight in silence and secrecy, 
shell it with the eye shut, and rub each pea on a different wart; then 
wrap them in a paper and bury). Addy, 89. 

2535 Take as many peas as you have warts, and plant them in 
rich soil. When they sprout, your warts will disappear. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county. 

2536 If you have warts on your hands, plant as many peas as 
you have warts so deep they won't come up, and your warts will 
go away. 

Rosa Efird and Wilson Foreman, Stanly county. 

2537 Prick a wart until it bleeds, rub it with a pea, bury the 
pea, and do not look at the place where the pea was buried. The 
wart will go away. 

Valeria Johnson Howard, Roseboro, Sampson county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 329 

2538 If you rub a black-eyed pea over your wart, and then 
throw it over your left shoulder, and go away without looking 
back, the wart will go away. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Udal, 221. 

2539 Split a pea and rub the wart with both pieces, make a wish 
that some person shall get the wart, throw one piece over one 
shoulder and the other over the other (into a river), and the 
wart will go to the person wished. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Nciv Brunswick: Bergen, Current, No. 906 — 
Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4186 (rub the wart with a green pea and then drop 
the latter into a cistern ; as soon as you hear the pea hit the water, walk 
away without looking back). Cf. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 773. 

2540 Count the warts and take as many peas as there are warts. 
Then walk backwards to a stream of water and without looking 
around, bury the peas in the mud, and then walk back to the 
house without turning around. 

S. G. Hawfield, Concord, Cabarrus county. Cf. Storaker, Sygdom, No. 
392. 

2541 A good cure for warts is to take the peas from a pod, 
split them, rub on the warts, and then replace the peas in the 
pod. After you have done this throw the pod away, and your 
warts will leave. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. the Waugh item 
from Ontario in No. 2534 above. 

2542 Rub a dead pine stick on a wart until the bark comes off, 
and your wart will disappear. 

Anonymous. 

2543 To cure warts, rub an Irish potato on the wart and throw 
it away. 

Anonymous. Indiana: Busse, 15, No. 2 — Texas: Bogusch, 124 (potato 
thrown over the house). HDA iv, 1025. 

2544 For warts, cut a potato in half and rub on the wart and 
throw the potato away, not observing where the potato falls. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Nebraska: Black, 26, No. 35 (the halves are 
fitted back together again before being thrown away) — Idaho: Lore, 
216. 

2545 To make a wart go away, slice an Irish potato in half and 
rub the inside on the wart, then throw it over your left shoulder 
and never look where it goes. 

Crockette Williams, eastern N. C. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, :i2 (tossed 
over the head without looking back) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4210 (rubbed 
with potato peelings which are thrown over the left shoulder ; no pro- 
hibition against looking back) — lozva: Stout, No. 789. 



330 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2546 A wart can be cured by rubbing a piece of white potato on 
the wart and then throwing the potato over the left shoulder; 
when the potato begins to rot the wart will disappear. 

Ethel Hicks Buffaloe, Oxford, Granville county. Kentucky: Thomas, 
No. 1505 (when the potato sprouts, etc.) — Iowa: Stout, No. 744. 

2547 A wart can be cured by taking a piece of raw Irish potato 
and rubbing it over the wart; then throw the potato under the 
back doorstep. 

Furman Bridgers, Wilson county. Examples of burial under the eaves 
are to be found in many parts of the country. 

2548 Take a potato and rub it over the wart, then wrap the 
potato in a piece of paper and throw it away. The one who 
finds it will have the wart. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maine: Bergen, Current, No. 917. 

2549 Take an Irish potato, cut it up, rub it on warts, put it in 
sack, and put it in a fork in the road. The first one who picks 
it up will have your warts ; yours will disappear. 

Julian P. Boyd. Ontario: Wintemberg, German i, 48 (wrap it in a 
piece of paper, and place it on the sidewalk, or other place much fre- 
quented by the public, and whoever finds the package, etc.) ; 11, 88; 
Wintemberg, Waterloo, 15. 

2550 The old people used to think that ragweed would cure 
warts. 

Green Collection. 

2551 Take a stick of sourwood and cut it spirally, taking a piece 
out. Rub it on the wart and hide it. The one who finds it takes 
the warts. 

Dixie V. Lamm, Lucama, Wilson county. 

2552 If one puts the blood of a wart on a straw, and hides the 
straw, the wart will go away. 

Irene Thompson, Mt. Airy, Surry county. Cf. California: Dresslar, 
108 (dip some straws in the blood of your warts, throw the straws away, 
and whoever picks them up, etc.). 

2553 If you blindfold yourself, and then rub a straw on your 
wart, and bury the straw while still blindfolded, the wart will go 
away. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

2554 Take as many joints of oat or wheat straw as a person 
has warts and bury them under a stone. As the joints rot, the 
warts disappear. This is to be done by another for you. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1523 (get a piece of 
straw for every wart ; touch each wart with a separate straw, bury the 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 331 

straws in a wet place, and when they rot, etc.) — Cape Breton: Bergen, 
Current, No. 925. Addy, 89; Black, Folk-Medicine, 57. 

2555 Make a cross on the wart with a straw and throw it away, 
and the wart will disappear. 

Green Collection. 

2556 Place ambeer (tobacco juice) from a pipe on warts to 
remove them. 

Anonymous. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 771. 

2557 Have an old man spit tobacco juice on the wart and say 
a charm over it. The wart will disappear. 

Cornelia E. Covington (South Carolina). The following references 
lack the details of an old man and the verbal charm. Kentucky: Tliomas, 
No. 1535 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4251; No. 4252 (wet a piece of twist 
tobacco and apply it to your wart for two nights) — Texas: Simmons, 
193 (rub some tobacco spit from a God-fearing man's tobacco on the 
wart) — California: Loomis, Medicine, 120 (wet the warts with to- 
bacco juice and then rub them with chalk). 

2558 For warts, apply a piece of raw tomato. 
Edward Dreyer (Louisiana). 

2559 To cure a wart, cut a chip from a tree, put blood from the 
wart on the chip, and put the chip back in its place on the tree. 

Anonymous, and William B. Covington, Scotland county. Cf. Indiana: 
Halpert, Warts, 40 (pick up a chip on first seeing tlie new moon, rub 
the chip on the wart, place it on the ground upside down, and the wart 
will leave in a few days). 

2560 Take seven little sticks, pick the wart, let a little blood 
drop on each one, and stick them under the eaves of the house. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. There are numerous examples 
of notching sticks for the number of warts a person has, and then dis- 
posing of the stick in various ways, but none involving blood. Cf. Nos. 
2618 fT., below. 

2561 Rub a willow stick on a wart seven times, and stick it on 
the branch bank. As the stick grows, the wart goes away. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 6 
(rub a willow stick over a wart and bury it; the wart will leave over 
night). 

2562 For warts, open the wart and put walnut juice on it. 
Anonymous. Cf. No. 2563, below. 

2563 Rub green walnut juice on warts. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1539 (rub the wart with 
half of a green walnut, and then bury the pieces of the walnut) — 
Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 66 (German); Fogel, 1685; No. 1684 
(and bury under the eaves) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4255 (bury the wal- 
nut) ; No. 4256 (rub with the blossom of a walnut tree). HDA ix, 

82. 



332 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2564 To cure a wart, use powdered chalk on it. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 64 (open the wart and 
rub with chalk) — New York: Gardner, No. 59 (steal a piece of chalk, 
rub it on a wart, and throw it over your shoulder, right or left, it won't 
matter, and the wart will go away) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4071 (mark 
your wart with a piece of chalk, and when the latter is lost, etc.) — 
lozva: Stout, No. 756 (rub the wart with chalk, and carry the chalk in 
your pocket; when you lose the chalk, etc.) ; No. 792 (rub warm chalk 
over your warts three times a day for a week, and they will be gone 
Vt^ithin another week). In addition to the foregoing items, there are 
various magical uses, involving the making of chalk marks, correspond- 
ing to the number of warts, on stoves, stove lids, chimneys, etc., with 
the wart destined to disappear as the mark wears off. 

2565 Rub the wart with rock salt till it bleeds ; and throw a 
lump of salt in the fire ; if it crackles and snaps out of the fire, 
the wart will get well ; if not, no cure can be expected. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maine: Bergen, Current, No. 919 — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1710 (rub a wart with salt and then throw the salt into a bake 
oven). 

2566 Rub a wart gently with nine grains of salt when you first 
get up. Take it to a crossroad and throw it over the left shoul- 
der. Repeat for nine mornings and the wart will go away. 
Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2567 Moisten the warts and apply baking soda. Repeat this 
several days, and the warts will disappear. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4041 (the wart is picked until it 
bleeds, and then is packed with stolen baking soda) — California: Loomis, 
Medicine, 120 (washing soda in solution applied to the warts and allowed 
to dry on them). 

2568 To cure warts, press the wart against a piece of wood 
and then burn the wood and mix the ashes with lard to make a 
salve. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 216. 

2569 Take the axle grease from the left front wheel of a buggy 
drawn by a gray mule, and take a feather from the tail of a white 
turkey. With the feather rub the grease on the wart for three 
days at half-past three o'clock, and the wart will disappear. 

G. C. Little (Newport, Tennessee). 

2570 Hold warts over a lamp and smoke them. 
Anonymous. 

2571 If you have a wart on your body, get some smut out of 
the back part of the chimney and rub on the wart, and it will go 
away. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 333 

2572 Cut off the wart and apply several doses of pure black ink 
on the cut place. 

J. M. Keech (Florida). New Mexico: Moya, 70, No. 43 (Spanish). 

2573 To cure warts, wash in May dew the three first mornings 
of May before breakfast just as the sun rises. 

Edna Whitley. Pcnnsyhania: Brendle-Unger, 66 (wash warts with dew 
on the first three mornings in May ; then with the wet hands strike 
that part of the body to which the warts are to be transferred (German) ; 
Fogel, No. 1632 (rise early on the first of May and without dressing or 
speaking wash with dew collected on wheat or grass [German]); No. 
1721 (wash warts with dew on the first three mornings in May, and 
with the hands hit the part of the body where you want the warts 
[German]). 

2574 Apply spring water to the wart, prick it, and then touch 
it with a grain of corn and give it to someone and the wart will 
leave. 

Robert E. Long, Person county. 

2575 Spunk (stump) water [water standing in old hollow tree 
stumps] will take away warts if rubbed on them early in the 
morning. 

Five informants from widely separated localities, and Emmy Lou Mor- 
ton (West Virginia). In none of the following references is the early 
morning specified as the time of application of the stump water. South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 140, No. 102 — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1529 (walk 
backward in the moonlight to an old stump full of water and stick your 
hand into the water) — Alabama: Puckett, 381 (stump water rubbed on 
three times) — Ontario: Waugh, No. 296 — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 
1724 (German) — Illinois: Fox, 7; Hyatt, No. 4245; Norlin, 204, No. 11 
— Texas: Woodhull, 71 (find an old stump hole with water in it, and 
bathe your warts) — Nebraska: Black, 29, No. 91 — Kansas: Daven- 
port, 131. 

2576 Warts may be cured by applying to them water standing 
in the hollow of an oaken stump. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachusetts and Ohio: Bergen, Current, No. 
929 — Indiana: Halpert, Warts, 42 — Iowa, Stout, No. 802 (water 
that has collected in a white oak stump). 

2577 Wash your warts for three mornings — unseen by anyone 
— in water standing in an old stump, and the warts will go away. 

A. H. Giles, Fonta Flora, Burke county. An Indiana item (Brewster, 
Cures, 41, No. 12) prescribes bathing the warts for nine successive days, 
while two Pennsylvania references recommend against the patient's 
ever seeing the stump again (Brendle-Unger, 66 [German]; Owens, 
124). Silence is prescribed in a Tennessee version (Rogers, 2Z) , and a 
tabu against looking back after the ceremony is indicated in references 
from Maryland (Whitney-Bullock, No. 1894), Kentucky: (Shearin, 320), 
and Tennessee (Farr, Riddles, No. 54). 



334 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2578 To remove warts, go into the woods on a bright moon- 
hght night, find a hollow stump that has water in it, put the 
hand in the water and repeat the following verse : 

Barley-corn, barley-corn, 
Injun meal, shonts, [shorts?] 
Spunk water, spunk water, 
Swallow these warts. 

Green Collection. Cf. Indiana: Halpert, Warts, 42: "Spunk water, 
spunk water, / Indian meal shorts ; / Spunk water, spunk water / Re- 
move my warts." Tliis is from Monroe county, and dates from about 
i860 to 1870 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4225 (Swish the finger containing the 
wart in some spunk water at midnight and say : "Barley corn, barley 
corn, Injun [Indian] meal shoots, / Spunk water, spunk water, swallow 
these roots") — Kansas: Davenport, 131 (wash your hands in water that 
has been standing in a stump, saying : "Oats, rye, barleycorn, shorts ; / 
Stump-water, stump-water, cure these warts"). 

2579 To cure warts, wash them with water out of an old horse's 
head. 

Anonymous. 

2580 When the blacksmith is not looking, bathe your warts in 
the water in which he cools his tools. 

Anonymous. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 66: Brinton, 182 f. (when 
the blacksmith was not looking). 

2581 Pick a wart and get some of the blood from it on a hand- 
kerchief ; then throw the handkerchief away, and the person who 
finds it will get the warts. 

Carl G, Knox, Leiand, Brunswick county. Kentucky: Stuart, 7 (thrown 
into the road) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 40, No. 3 (at a crossroad) 
— Illinois: Allison, No. 123 (at a crossroad). 

2582 Pick the wart until it bleeds, wipe the blood on a rag. Go 
to the crossroads and find two people riding one horse, turn your 
back to them, and throw the bloody rag over your left shoulder. 

Minnie Bryan Farrior, Duplin county. Cf. New Mexico: Espinosa, 410, 
No. 9 (make a small knot in a rag, go to a road crossing and throw it 
away for a passerby to pick up; no mention of blood [Spanish]). 

2583 To cure a wart, prick it, and wipe the drop of blood off 
with a rag ; then bore a hole in a white oak tree, and put a peg 
in to hold the rag in place. Then whisper to the wart every 
night for nine nights, "Be gone," and it will disappear. 

Green Collection. 

2584 Pick the wart till it bleeds, then get a drop on a newspaper 
and hide it. 

Anonymous. Plain paper, not a newspaper, figures in all of the following 
references: Kentucky: Price, 31 (prick the wart with a needle, and put 
the blood on a piece of paper ; then hide this until the paper decays, etc.) ; 
Thomas, No. 1490 (the operation is undertaken by a friend). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 335 

2585 Prick the wart, and with the blood write something on a 
piece of paper. Fold the paper, and drop it in someone's path. 
The person who picks it up and unfolds it will grow the wart. 

Green Collection. Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 6 (write your name on a 
piece of paper; pick the warts until they bleed; then wipe the blood 
on your name written there and bury the paper, etc.) — Ontario: 
Waugli, No. 300 (write the number of warts on a piece of paper; steal 
a dishcloth, wrap the paper up in it, and throw it on the road without 
anyone seeing you; whoever picks the parcel up, etc.) — Kansas: Daven- 
port, 131 (make cross marks on a piece of paper; carry the paper in your 
pocket and your wart will go away). 

2586 Cut the wart and put some of the blood on a piece of 
paper. Wrap in a "pretty piece" and drop in the road. Who- 
ever picks up the bright trifle will "inherit" the wart. 

Green Collection, and two other informants from Wayne and Davidson 
counties. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1491 (blood from the wart 
dropped onto a piece of paper, which is then thrown away over the left 
shoulder at the crossroads, "passing" then to the person who picks it up) 
— Tennessee: Rogers, 34 (the paper with wart blood on it must be 
folded and thrown behind the patient, to be picked up, etc.) — Illinois: 
Hyatt, No. 4185 (thrown over the left shoulder at the crossroads). 

2587 Steal someone's dishrag, and your warts will go away. 
Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Nos. 2590 flF., 2594 flf., 2607, 2610 ff., below. 

2588 Hide a dishrag to take a wart away 

Duo K. Smith, Houstonville, Iredell county. Distinctions are not made 
between "dishcloth" and "dishrag," the words being used interchange- 
ably in most parts of the country. Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 40 (you 
must not know where it is hidden; when it decays, etc.) 

2589 Warts will disappear if you hide your mother's dishrag. 
Jessie Hauser, Pfafftown, Forsyth county. 

2590 Steal your mother's dirty dishrag, and hide it to remove 
your warts. 

Marie Harper, Durham county. Cf. Tennessee: Rogers, 32 f. (the 
greasier the dishrag the better) — California: Dresslar, 109. 

2591 If one steals his mother's dishrag and hides it in an old 
stump where there is rain water, his warts will disappear, if the 
rag is never found. 

Jane N. Ray, and Ada Briggs (Virginia). Kentucky: Price, 31 (rain 
water not mentioned) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4128 (walking backward 
throughout the whole ritual, carry a dishrag to a stump, dip it into 
the water in the stump, wash your wart with the dishrag, and then re- 
turn home). 

2592 In order to cure a wart, you must steal a dirty dislicloth 
from your neighbor, rub it on the wart and then throw the cloth 



336 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

away. Yoii must not tell the lady about getting the cloth until 
the wart is entirely gone. 

Katherine Bernard Jones, Raleigh, and three other informants — two 
from Person and Cleveland counties, and one from Nansemond county, 
Virginia. In the following references, no specific mention is made of 
stealing the dishrag from a neighbor, nor of "telling" the neighbor about 
the theft: New York: Gardner, No. 60 — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4127; 
No. 4134 (thrown over the eaves of a house) — loiva: Stout, No. 
786 — Kansas: Davenport, 130 — Neiu Mexico: Moya, 51 (a stolen 
greasy dishrag thrown at a road crossing [Spanish]) — California: 
Dresslar, 109. 

2593 To get rid of warts, bury an old dishrag, and the length of 
time it takes for the rag to rot will be the length of time it will 
take for the warts to disappear. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. No mention is made of rotting in 
either of the following references. Illinois: Allison, No. 85 — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 735 (bury a wet dishrag, and with it go your warts). 

2594 If you steal a dishrag and bury it, it will cure your warts. 

Marjorie Rea, Craven county, and four other informants from widely 
separated localities. Illinois: Allison, No. 173 — Texas: Woodhull, 
72 (bury it without anyone seeing you). 

2595 To cure warts, steal a real dirty dishrag and bury it under 
the doorsteps so that a rooster can't dig it up. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. Cf. Mississippi: Hudson, 153, 
No. 5 (put the dishrag under the doorstep without looking back ; when 
the dishrag rots, etc. ; no mention of a rooster's being unable to dig it 
up). For references to the doorstep, see notes to No. 2609, below 
(Indiana and Texas items). 

2596 If a person steals a dishrag and buries it under the leak 
of the house, his wart will go away. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Tennessee: Rogers, 32 f. — Nova 
Scotia: Creighton, 98, No. 91 (bury the dishcloth under the roof; when 
the rain comes down, etc.) — Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 44 (buried in 
the damp ground on the north side of a building before sunrise and be- 
fore you eat breakfast). 

2597 Steal a dishrag, rub the warts, and they will go away. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Tennessee: McGlasson, 17, 
No. 7 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 65 (German) ; Fogel, No. 
1696 (German). 

2598 Steal a dishrag, rub it over the warts on your hands, hide 
it where you will never see it again, and the warts will vanish. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, J. Frederick Doering, Dur- 
ham, and Sue Hull (Indiana). South: Duncan, 234 — Tennessee 
Farr, Riddles, No. 51. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 337 

2599 Rub the wart with a stolen dishcloth, and secrete the dish- 
cloth until it becomes mouldy and decays ; then the wart is cured. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). General: Bergen, Current, No. 898 — Pennsyl- 
vania: Bergen, Current, No. 899 — Texas: Simmons, 193. 

2600 Steal a dishcloth — no one must see you steal it — prick the 
wart, rub the dishcloth on it and bury the cloth under the steps. 
The wart will disappear when the cloth rots. 

Green Collection, and three other informants from central counties. Cf. 
Tennessee: Redfield, No. 151 (pick the wart with a pin until it bleeds; 
then steal your mother's dishrag and wipe the blood on it and hide it 
under the eaves of the house, and never go back to it, or tell where it 
is). For references to the doorstep, see notes to the Indiana and Texas 
items in No. 2609, below. 

2601 A wart may be removed by stealing someone's dishrag and 
burying it under the back of the house. 

Flossie Marshbanks, Mars Hill, Madison county. 

2602 Steal a dishcloth, rub your warts with it, and bury the 
cloth under the kitchen door. Tell no one. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. In only the Tennessee 
item (Rogers) is burial under the doorstep specified; prohibitions of 
secrecy are contained in only the South Carolina (Bryant) and Kansas 
(Davenport) references. General: Bergen, Current, No. 898 — North 
Carolina: Doering, Folk Medicine, 197 — South Carolina: Bryant 11, 
140, No. loi (bury under the eaves of a house) — Kentucky: Fowler, 
No. 1462a (bury in secret) — Tennessee: Rogers, 32 f. — Louisiana: 
Roberts, No. 513 (bury it on a bright moonlight night) — Ontario: 
Waugh, No. Z2y (bury under the eaves) — Neiv England: Johnson, 
What They Say, 118 — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 65 (bury under 
the eaves) ; ibid, (rub with a dishcloth stolen at a moving, in the morn- 
ing before sunrise, and bury under the eaves [German]) — Indiana: 
Brewster, Cures, 40, No. 5 (bury under the eaves) ; Busse, 15, No. i ; 
Halpert, Warts, 38 (secrecy) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4123; No. 4124 
(bury under the eaves, and when it becomes rotten, etc.) ; Norlin, 
205, No. 12 (bury under the eaves or in some place where it will soon 
decay) — lozva: Stout, No. 804 (under the eaves) — Ozarks: Randolph, 
128 — Kansas: Davenport, 130 (under the eaves) — California: Dress- 
lar, 109 — Jl'asliington: Tacoma, 30. 

2603 Steal a dishcloth, rub it over the wart, and hide it behind 
a door. The wart will go away. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. 

2604 Steal someone's dishcloth and rub your warts with it. 
Then place the cloth under a rock until it rots. 

Anonymous. Cf. Ontario: Wintemberg, German i, 48; 11, 88; Wintem- 
berg, Waterloo, 15 (rubbing the w-art not specified in any of the three 
references) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4132; No. 4125 (a string from a dish- 
rag is tied around the wart and then buried beneath a rock) — Iowa: 
Stout, No. 806 — 0::arks: Randolph, 128 (touched with a dishrag rather 
than rubbed) — Nebraska: Black, 26, No. 37. 



338 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2605 You can take warts off your hands by rubbing a dishcloth 
over the warts, and then hiding the dishcloth in a field or woods. 
When the dishcloth rots the warts will come off. 

An anonymous informant, and Odus Rupe (Kentucky). 

2606 Rub the wart with a cotton rag, spit on the rag, and hide 
it under a water-board where the water will drip on it. The 
whole operation must be kept secret. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). 

2607 Steal a greasy dishrag, pick the wart and wipe the blood 
of the wart on the rag. Then bury the rag in the bottom of a 
spring. 

Green Collection, Cf. Kentucky: Sanders, 17 (burial prescribed, but 
not in a spring). 

2608 Go to a neighbor's house, wipe your wart with a greasy 
dishrag and then throw it in running water. 

Ethel Brown, Catawba county. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1468 (steal 
a dishrag and throw it over your left shoulder into a pond). 

2609 To remove a wart, rub a dishrag over it, and bury the rag 
without telling anyone. 

Lizze May Smith, Hamlet, Richmond county. Only in the Kentucky 
(Thomas), Ontario (Doering), Illinois (Hyatt), and Texas (Bogusch) 
items is secrecy prescribed. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1462 (some say, 
a stolen dishrag) — Tennessee: Law, 99 — Ontario: Doering, Customs, 
153; Waugh, No. 293 (touch the warts) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 
1695 (bury under the eaves [German]) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 40, 
No. 7 (bury under the doorstep) ; Halpert, Warts, 38 (bury under the 
eaves trough) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4130 — Texas: Bogusch, 124 
(buried under the back steps) — Kansas: Davenport, 130 (bury in the 
cellar) — Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 43 (bury the rag anywhere in the 
ground) ; Erickson, 153, No. 2 — California: Dresslar, 109. 

2610 Steal your neighbor's dishrag, and wash your hands with 
it thoroughly. Bury the dishrag a long way off, don't look back, 
forget it, and your warts will go away. 

Margarite Higgs, Greenville, Pitt county. In none of the following 
references is washing with the dishrag indicated. Knortz, 49 • — Tenn- 
essee: Redfield, No. 150 (steal a dishrag from somebody that is not 
any kin to you, and hide it without anyone seeing you, and, etc.) — 
lozva: Stout, No. 821 (when the light of the full moon comes, bury the 
dishrag under the eaves) — Texas: Woodhull, 21 (bury under a peach 
tree) — Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 41 — California: Dresslar, 109. 

261 1 Steal somebody's dishrag, go into the woods, turn around 
three times, and throw the rag behind you from your right hand. 
Then go home, and do not go around that place for three weeks. 
The warts disappear 

Julian P. Boyd. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 339 

2612 Steal a dishcloth and rub your warts with it. Place the 
cloth on the rock at the crossroads. 

Dorothy M. Vann, Raleigh. Neiv York: Webb, 103 (steal your grand- 
mother's dishrag when no one is looking, wipe it over your warts, and 
hide it under a stone; no mention of crossroads) — Illinois: Hyatt, 
No. 4131 (drop the dishrag at the forks of the road; no reference to a 
rock) ; No. 4166 (during the full moon rub your wart with your mother's 
dishrag, and bury the dishrag at midnight in the center of a crossroads ; 
no reference to a stolen dishrag, nor to burial under a rock) ; Norlin, 
204, No. 12 (no reference to crossroads). 

2613 Take a blade of grass and measure the distance across 
each wart, and then go bury the grass under a rock without let- 
ting anyone see you, and without looking back. When the grass 
decays the warts will go away. 

Annie Hamlin, Durham county, and an anonymous informant. Cf. Iowa: 
Stout, No. 809 (take two pieces of grass; place one around the wart 
and one across ; remove both pieces and bury them under a dripping 
eaves spout, etc. ; while "measuring" is not specifically mentioned, both 
the perimeter and the diameter of the wart are measured ; the emphasis 
seems to be on the more common act of burying the item which has 
come into contact with the wart). Cf. No. 2614, below. 

2614 Warts may be removed by "measuring" them with a cotn- 
mon broom straw. 

Durham Herald-Sun, Oct. 22, 1939. From Kentucky through the Middle 
States, and to New Mexico, broomstraws are used in a variety of ways 
to cure warts : picking, rubbing, burying, etc., but not specifically in the 
magical sense of "measuring." 

2615 If a person takes a little stick and measures the diameter 
of another person's wart, then throws away the stick, or buries 
it, without the person's having the wart knowing about it, the 
wart will go away, 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1518 
(measure each wart with a stick, and break off the piece ; bury the pieces 
of stick, and when they rot, etc.). 

2616 Some people pretend to remove warts by touching them 
with the sharp point of a stick and rubbing them in the notch 
of another stick. Then if the patient tells of it, they will come 
back. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Alabama: Bergen, Current, No. 924. 

2617 To cure a wart, one may notch a stick, fit it over a wart, 
and throw it where one will never see it again. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 
66 (rub the warts with the notched wood and bury it ; as the wood decays, 

etc. [German]) ; Fogel, No. 1701 (same as previous item). Lean 11, 

517 (elder stick). 



34© NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2618 Cut as many notches in a tree as you have warts; then 
turn around, and do not look backwards until you get home. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 15 (cut notches in a 
young tree, and as the tree heals, the warts leave). 

2619 Warts may be cured by cutting as many notches in a cedar 
limb as you have warts, and then throwing the limb over your 
head at a crossroads and walking away without looking back. 
Lois Johnson, Thomasville, Davidson county. 

2620 To carry warts away, count the warts, get a cherry switch, 
cut as many notches in it as there are warts, take the switch and 
throw it in a ditch, turn your back, and do not look backward or 
think of it any more. As soon at the stick has rooted [rotted?], 
the warts will disappear. 

Carl G. Knox, Leiand, Brunswick county. 

2621 Cut a notch in the young growth of a peach tree limb for 
each wart. Bury the limb in a damp place, and when the switch 
rots the warts will be gone, 

Roby Arrowhead. In only the first Illinois item (Hyatt, No. 4190) is 
burial in a damp place indicated. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1493 (go 
unseen to a young peach tree and cut with a butcher knife as many 
notches in the tree as you have warts ; put the knife back into its place, 
and in seven days, etc.) ; No. 1494 (cut three notches in a peach tree 
limb; when the notches are filled up, etc.) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4190 
(bury the limb where water drips) ; No. 4189 (three notches; one will 
lose the warts when the notches grow together) ; No. 4191 (a notch 
for each wart; never look back) — Texas: Woodhull, 71 (cut a small 
limb from a peach tree, and cut as many notches in the limb as you 
have warts ; then touch each wart with a notch, and bury the limb under 
a peach tree; when the limb rots, etc.) 

2622 Cut a persimmon twig, cut as many notches in it as you 
have warts, bury the twig, and when it rots the warts will 
disappear. 

Vella Jane Burch, Durham county. 

2623 To take off warts, cut as many notches in a piece of 
pine wood as you have warts. Cut the warts till they bleed, and 
cover the notches with the blood. Hide the stick under the back 
doorstep and the warts will go away. 

W. S. Lee, Jr., Monroe, Union county. 

2624 Cut a notch in a stick for every wart you have, hide it 
where you will never see it again, and the warts will disappear, 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county, and Lucille Massey, Durham 
county. Tennessee: Rogers, 33. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 341 

2625 For warts, cut as many notches in a stick as you have 
warts, bury the stick, and the one finding the stick will get the 
warts. 

Ella Parker, Mt. Gilead, Montgomery county. In none of the following 
references is mention made of transference of the warts to another 
person, "finding" the stick being inconsistent, of course, with "burying" 
it. In the first three references disintegration of the stick is mentioned. 
Mississippi: Hudson, 154, No. 6 (don't look back) — Ontario: Waugh, 
No. 301 — Neiv England: Johnson, What They Say, 122 — Massa- 
chusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 923 — Iowa: Stout, No. 718 (bury in 
a place unknown to others) — Kansas: Davenport, 131. Udal, 221. 

2626 Take a stick and notch it with the number of notches of 
the warts the person has and bury it behind the woodshed. 
When the stick rots, the warts will disappear. 

Green Collection. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1517 (place it under the 
drip of the house) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4226 (place near the house so 
that water can drip on it). 

2627 Notch a stick with the same number of notches that you 
have warts, throw it over your left shoulder at a crossroads, and 
don't look back. Whoever picks up the stick will get the warts. 

Green Collection, and W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Cross- 
roads are not mentioned in either of the following references. Illinois: 
Norlin, 205, No. 15 — Nebraska: Black, 28, No. 72 (throw the stick 
away). 

2628 Go to a running stream, get a twig, and cut as many 
notches in the stick as you have warts. Throw the twig into the 
stream, and never look back, and they will go away. 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county, and Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Arkansas: Ran- 
dolph, 130 (a green switch with four knots in it — each one representing a 
wart — is tied to a gutter, and as the water rushes over the switch, the 
warts are gradually dissolved). 

2629 When you wish to remove warts from your hand, cut 
as many notches in a stick as you have warts, and, standing on a 
bridge, throw^ the stick over your left shoulder and turn your 
head. The warts will go off before you leave the bridge. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Alabama: Bergen, Current, No. 922. 

2630 To take off warts, cut thirteen notches in a stick, carry 
the stick to the nearest graveyard, and bury it at the head of the 
oldest person buried there. The warts will go away. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. 

2631 A witch doctor takes a flat stick and cuts a notch for each 
of your warts, then he chants : "Come, witches, take these warts 
aw^ay." He then hides the stick. When it is moved, the warts 
are gone. 

Loraine Benz (Indiana). Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1526. 



342 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2632 Gravel rubbed on warts will carry them away. 

Lida Page, Nelson, Durham county. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1472 
(get three pieces of gravel where rain water falls on them off the house, 
and apply them to the wart ; then tie them in a white rag and bury them) ; 
No. 1473 (rub the wart with nine pieces of gravel, and then place the 
gravel in the fork of the roads) — Tennessee: Redfield, No. 155 — 
Ontario: Waugh, No. 292 (gravel from the lake shore, rubbed on warts, 
wrapped up, and thrown away) — 0::arks: Randolph, Ozark, 6 (gravel 
thrown into a running stream). 

2633 Rub a wart with a flint, and throw it over the left shoul- 
der. The wart will disappear soon. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 772. 

2634 Count the number of warts you have, and get an equal 
number of gravels, put them into a cloth and tie them up ; then 
throw it into the road where the horses will travel over them, 
and the warts will disappear. 

Ralph Chesson (Washington, D. C). Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 10 (pieces 
of gravel equal to the number of warts are placed in a bag and dropped 
in the road for someone to pick up ; no mention of horses treading the 
gravel). 

2635 For warts, tie a few pieces of gravel in a cloth and throw 
them over the right shoulder at a crossroads. 

Green Collection. Cf. Tennessee : McGlasson, 17, No. 3 (wrapped up in 
paper and dropped at the crossroads; not thrown over the shoulder). 

2636 Take a green, mossy pebble, wrap it up, tie it, and throw 
it away. The finder will catch the wart which you had. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Rhode Island: Bergen, Current, No. 908. 

2637 If you have warts, walk nine steps backward with your 
eyes shut, having just picked up a pebble with which you rub 
the wart. Then throw the pebble away. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Texas: Bergen, Current, No. 912. 

2638 Take as many pebbles as there are warts. Rub them on 
the warts. Roll them in paper and throw them away, and the 
finder takes the warts. 

R. T. Dunstan, Greensboro and Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. South: Puckett, 
380 f. (throw away in a bag [Negro]) — Massachusetts: Bergen, Cur- 
rent, No. 909 — Kansas: Davenport, 130 (rub a wart with seven pebbles, 
wrap up in paper, etc.). Lean 11, 517; Radford, 248. 

2639 If you rub your warts with a pebble, wrap the pebl^le in 
paper, and throw it away. The person who picks it up will have 
them come to him. Or, should you label the paper with some- 
one's name and throw it away, the warts will come to the person 
whose name you have written. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). New England: Bergen, Current, No. 907. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 343 

2640 Go out of doors, count three, stop and pick up the stone 
nearest to your toe, wrap it up in a paper, and throw it away. 
The one that picks it up will get the warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Rhode Island: Bergen, Current, No. 910. 

2641 Touch the wart with a rock in a paper bag where some 
unwary simpleton will pick it up and get the wart. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Idaho: Lore, 216. 

2642 Put a rock in a little poke for each wart you have, then 
throw the poke of rocks away over the left shoulder and the 
warts will leave. 

A. H. Giles, Fonta Flora, Burke county. Patten, 140 (if a bag, con- 
taining as many small pebbles as a person has warts, be tossed over 
the left shoulder, it will transfer the warts to whoever is unfortunate 
enough to pick up the bag) — Ozarks: Randolph, 127 (pebbles put into 
a paper bag and tossed over the right shoulder onto the road for an 
unfortunate finder). There are Texas and Nebraska examples of dispos- 
ing of a stone in the manner suggested but rubbing the wart first is 
indicated. Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 773. 

2643 I^or the removal of warts, walk three hundred yards in a 
certain direction, pick up the nearest rock, spit under the rock, 
turn around three times, and do not look in the direction of the 
rock for three weeks. 

Green Collection. 

2644 To remove warts, tie up as many stones (or gravel) in a 
rag as you have warts, leave them in the road, and when some- 
one picks them up your warts will go away. 

Pearle Webb, Pineola, Avery county ; Edna Whitley ; Professor J. T. C. 
Wright, Boone, Watauga county; and an anonymous informant. South: 
Puckett, 380 f. (placed in a bag and deposited at the crossroads [Negro]) 
— Kansas: Davenport, 130. 

2645 Take the same number of rocks as you have warts, rub 
each w^art with a different rock, and then drop the rocks at the 
crossing of two roads. 

Jethro Harris, Northampton county. Cf. Kentucky: Stuart, 7 (the rocks 
are tied up in a sack before being placed in the road). 

2646 To cure warts, put a small stone in a poke, and put it 
where it will go away when it rains. 

Grace Tucker (South Carolina). 

2647 To cure a wart, pick up a rock in running water and rub 
your warts with it. Put it back in the same place, then go home 
without looking back. 

Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1521 
(stone rubbed secretly on the wart in the morning, and replaced, but 



344 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

the stone need not be found in running water) — Tennessee: Rogers, 
33 (rock not found in a watercourse of any kind) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 
4229 (stone from a spring). 

2648 Take a small size rock, make a cross on the wart, and put 
the rock back in the same place without speaking. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2649 If you pick up as many rocks as you have warts, put a 
drop of blood from each wart on the same number of rocks. 
Wrap them up and put them where someone will find them. 
The warts will go away. The one that finds the rocks will have 
the same number of warts. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. 

2650 Pick the wart until it bleeds. Rub it with a small stone 
until you get some blood on the stone, and then wrap the stone 
up and throw it into the road. The one who finds the package 
will have the wart. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and Mary O. Pruette, Charlotte, 
Mecklenburg county. Texas: Woodhull, 72 (a rock, with verbal dif- 
ferences only) — Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 59. 

2651 To take a wart off, pick it until it begins to bleed ; then let 
three drops of blood fall on a small rock, tie this in a rag, and 
throw in the middle of the road. The one who finds this will 
take the wart. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2652 Take seven stones, let warts bleed on each, box up, throw- 
over the left shoulder, and never look back. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. 

2653 One of the boys on the farm had a wart on his hand which 
he wished to be taken off, so he went to Uncle Dolph's hut and 
told him he wanted him to take the wart off his hand. The old 
Negro looked at it and then went into the house and brought 
out a small bottle of yellowish substance, a needle, and took from 
his pocket a match. He then took the boy's hand and put some 
of this yellow medicine on the wart and let it stay tmtil he 
counted ten ; tjien he wiped it off. Next he took the needle and 
stuck it down into the wart. He then went out into the yard 
and buried the needle and told the boy that the wart would be 
off within seven days, but I left before the seven days were up 
so never knew whether it went off or not. 

Thomasen. 

2654 Stick a pin through the wart and hold it to a candle. 

Charles R. Bagley (New Hampshire). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 
1499 (thrust a pin entirely through a wart; heat the point of the pin and 
pull the heated point back through the wart) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 345 

4201 (stick wart with pin heated over a candle, and the wart will go 
away in seven days) ; No. 4198 (run a pin through a wart, and then 
heat the pin in the flame of a match) — Texas: Woodhull, 70 (stick 
a pin through the wart and then burn the end of the pin) — Nebraska: 
Black, 26, No. 31 (same as previous item). 

2655 Place a pin in fire, and when it gets hot stick it in the 
wart. 

Anonymous. Cf. No. 2654, above. 

2656 To remove a wart, pick the wart with a pin, and lose the 
pin. 

Susie Spurgeon Jordan, Brevard, Transylvania county. 

2657 Pick a wart with a pin until it bleeds, throw the pin away, 
and whoever gets the pin will have the wart. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2658 Run a pin through the wart and put the pin in the road. 
The finder will get the wart. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Missouri: Bergen, Current, No. 915. 

2659 Take a needle and pick the wart for two days in succes- 
sion. Then take the needle and hide it under a rock on the south 
side of a hill, and leave it there for four days. Then pick the 
wart again, destroy the needle, and the wart will disappear. 

G. C. Little (Tennessee). 

2660 Prick your warts with a pin until they bleed ; then throw 
the pin away over your shoulder and walk away without looking 
back. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4200 (throw the pin directly in 
front of you as far as you can ; then turn around and walk in the 
opposite direction). 

2661 Pick a wart with a pin till it bleeds, throw the pin over 
the left shoulder, and the wart will leave. 

Green Collection. 

2662 To remove a wart, stick nine straight pins into it, and 
secretly stick them into a pine tree, and the wart will disappear. 
Green Collection. 

2663 Pick a wart with a pin, and then leave the pin in a de- 
cayed stump without telling anyone. 

Anonymous. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4199 (stick a w-art with a pin and 
drive the pin into an old stump). 

2664 Pick a wart with a pin, take the pin and stick it in the 
fence, and the wart will disappear. 

Green Collection. 



346 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2665 Rub warts with the head of a pin ; hide the latter and do 
not look for it, and the warts will disappear. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1501 (wart rubbed 
with pin — head not specified — that belongs to someone other than a rela- 
tion ; the pin is then hidden) — Tennessee: O'Dell, Doctor, No. 39 
(rubbed three times each way with a pin, and the pin is put away for 
three weeks) — New York: Bergen, Current, No. 916; Wart Remedies, 
257. 

2666 To remove a wart, cross pins over a wart, and hide the 
pins where no one can find them. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. South: Puckett, 379, 381. Rad- 
ford, 248. 

2667 Steal as many pins as you have warts, wrap them in paper 
and throw them in the road. The warts will attack whoever 
picks up the paper, and leave you. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). New York: Bergen, Current, No. 914. 

2668 To cure a wart, draw a blade across it, and then draw the 
knife across a sweet apple tree. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Massachusetts: Bergen, Current, No. 900. 

2669 A rusty nail will take away warts. 

Minnie Stamps Gosney, Raleigh. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1485 
(wart picked; blood put on rusty nail and driven into the root of an 
oak tree) — Tennessee: Rogers, 33 (carry rusty nail in the pocket). 
Hovorka-Kronfeld 11, 772. 

2670 Take an old and rusted piece of iron and heat it and 
plunge it into a pan of cold water, and then bathe your warts, 
though many applications may be necessary. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Idaho: Lore, 216. 

2671 To cure warts, pick up a piece of plate and rub your warts 
with it. Put it back in the same place, and go to the house with- 
out looking back. 

Dorothy McDowell Vann, Raleigh. 

2672 If you count your warts once and over, they will dis- 
appear. 

Anonymous. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 518. Cf. No. 2417, above. 

Addy, 89. 

2673 Count your warts, and don't tell how many you have, and 
they will disappear. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4101 
(warts counted off without your knowledge) — Iowa: Stout, No. 774 
(count the warts and forget the number). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 347 

2674 Count your warts every day for fifteen days, and they will 
leave you. 

Anonymous. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1489 (every night for nine 
nights). 

2675 Sell your warts to somebody else, and they will go away. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county, and A. H. Giles, Fonta Flora, Burke 
county. For a discussion of a sale of warts without any money actually 
changing hands, see Johnson, IVhat They Say, 118 f., and Randolph, 127. 
Cf., however. No. 2677, below. Kentucky: Thomas, No. 151 1 (sell it 
to someone, but keep the money) — Tennessee: Frazier, 36, No. 44 — 
Louisiana: Roberts, No. 521 — Ontario: Doering-Doering i, 63 — 
Illinois: Allison, No. 84; Hyatt, No. 4220 (sell the wart and keep the 
money) ; Norlin, 205, No. 24a — Ozarks: Randolph, 127 (warts may be 
disposed of by hiring some boy to "take them off your hands" ; two or 
three more warts don't matter to a chap who has a dozen or so already ; 
just give the boy a penny or a nickel for each wart, and they will pass 
from you to him as soon as he spends the money) — Kansas: Daven- 
port, 130 (example of a young man who bought his sweetheart's warts) 
— New Mexico: Moya, 52 (often sold among relatives [Spanish]); 
ibid., (they may be sold for matches as well as money [Spanish]) — 
California: Dresslar, 109. 

2676 Some people can sell warts to trees. After yours are gone 
you can go and find them on that tree. 

Edith Walker, Watauga county. 

2677 Some backwoods lassies are said to possess the power of 
charming the warts away by buying them from you. To do this 
some silver must exchange hands. 

Emmy Lou Morton (West Virginia). 

2678 Sell a wart for some object that can be hidden where it 
will never be discovered by anyone. 

William B. Covington, Scotland county, and an anonymous informant. 

2679 Sell your warts for any amount of money, put the money 
away, and do not spend it. 

Ethel Brown, Catawba county, and Allie Ann Pearce, Raleigh. Cf. 
Nebraska: Black, 27, No. 56. 

2680 Sell your warts for money, throw the money away any- 
where, but on your own land. Whoever picks up the money will 
also get the warts. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Although the comma precedes the "but," a 
reading more consistent with the disposal of warts generally, might be 
". . . anywhere but on your own land." In such acts of riddance, the 
money or whatever else has been in contact with the wart, is placed in 
some likely place for a passerby to pick up, usually in the road itself. 



348 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2681 If you have a wart on your hand and someone says he will 
give you a penny for it, you take the money and it will go away. 

Martha Wall, Wallburg, Davidson county; Julian P. Boyd; and an 
anonymous informant. Cf. Kentucky: Carter, Mountain, 15 (a penny 
a wart) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1726 (for a cent, and put away so 
it can't be used) ; No. 1727 (throw the cent away after the sale [Ger- 
man]) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 41, No. 13; Halpert, Warts, 41 (a 
penny apiece) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4222 (example of the transfer to the 
buyer) ; Norlin, 205, No. 24 (a penny apiece) — Missouri: McKinney, 
107 — Nebraska: Black, 28, No. 64 (hide the penny in the clock after 
the sale) ; Erickson, 153 — California: Dresslar, 109. 

2682 When you have six warts, someone may buy them for a 
penny apiece and they will go away. 

Grace Barbee, Stanly county. 

2683 Have someone give you a penny, a nickel, or a dime, or 
more, and the wart will go away. 

Susie Spurgeon Jordan, Brevard, Transylvania county. Cf. South 
Carolina: Bryant n, 139, No. 98 (sell for a coin; then hide the coin) — 
Neiv England: Johnson, What They Say, 118 f. (five cents; dialogueof 
such a sale is given) — lozm: Stout, No. 709a (for a coin; then hide 
the coin) — California: Dresslar, 109 (ten cents). Addy, 89. 

2684 To remove a wart, rub a penny on it, and then throw the 
penny away so no one can find it, and the wart will disappear. 

Green Collection. New York: Wart Remedies, 256 (throw the wart 
over your shoulder) — Indiana: Halpert, Warts, 40 (throw the penny 
over the shoulder after rubbing the wart three times ; also throw the 
penny as far away as possible) — Iowa: Stout, No. 768 (throw the 
penny over the left shoulder and never look for it) — Nebraska: Black, 
28, No. 63 (throw the penny as far as possible) — New Mexico: Moya, 
51 (Spanish). Hovorka-Kronfeld n, 772. 

2685 Make a wart bleed, and put the blood on a penny, throw 
the money away, and the finder will get the wart. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Bergen, Current, No. 904; Knortz, 49 f. — New 
England: Johnson, What They Say, 116. 

2686 To remove a wart, rub it with a penny ; then bury the 
penny. 

J. Schafifner. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1725 (rub the warts with a 
cent and bury under the eaves [German]) — Iowa: Stout, No. 814. 

2687 Never think of warts or look at yours, and they will dis- 
appear. 

Zilpah Frisbie, Marion, McDowell county. 

2688 IVlany people believe that there are people who can remove 
warts simply by looking at them. 

L. C. Allen, Person and Caswell counties. Cf. Tennessee: McGlasson, 17, 
No. 12 (look at the wart every morning). 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 349 

2689 If you have a wart, and show it to someone else, and then 
not look at it for nine nights, it will disappear. 

Anonymous. 

2690 Some people can talk warts away by saying a Bible verse. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Texas: Guinn, 268 (one goes to a recognized curer 
who recites a certain verse of scripture ; the patient must keep the verse 
secret from members of his own sex). For other verbal charms used 
for warts, cf. Nos. 2578, 2583, 2631, above, and scattered items between 
this entry and the end of the section on warts. 

2691 To remove warts, have someone pray a prayer for each 
wart. 

Anonymous. Louisiana: Roberts, No. 516; No. 5x7 (say your prayers 
backward) . 

2692 Go to the fork of a road and make as many cross marks 
as you have warts, and the first person that steps on those marks 
will get your warts. 

Annie Hamlin, Durham county, and an anonymous informant. 

2693 Any person who has never seen his father can conjure 
warts. 

W. J. Hickman, Hudson, Caldwell county. Cf. South: Puckett, 381 (the 
breath of a child who has never seen his father is effective against 
warts). 

2694 Conjure-men carry warts away by taking your name and 
age. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county, and the Green Collec- 
tion. Cf. Kentucky: Thomas, No. i486 (name the warts with names you 
have never heard of, and make some good wish about them, and they will 
go off) — Tennessee: McGlasson, 17, No. 10 (name the wart the name 
of a preacher, and if he is a good man the wart will go away). 

2695 An old beggarly man in our community merely rubs the 
wart while asking over and over, "How old are you?" Each 
time the person answers. Several days later the wart will 
disappear. 

Kathleen Mack, Davidson county. 

2696 To remove warts, rub them gently and repeat the follow- 
ing words : 

Anna, mana, meno, mike, 
Paro, lono, bono, strike, 
Mar-e, war-e, wallow-wack. 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county, and an anonymous informant. There 
are no close parallels to this strange verbal mixture. 



350 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2697 To cure warts, stand in the moonlight, rake up dirt under 
your heel, and repeat conjure words. 

Charles R. Bagley (New Hampshire). Cf. Ozarks: Randolph, 126 
(touching a wart and muttering something which begins with "hocus, 
pocus," and ends in gibberish) — Texas: Simmons, 193 (some people 
have a supernatural power to conjure warts and cure them). 

2698 If you have a wart, every time you think of it, think of it 
not as a wart, but as a Dryaway. Every time you see it, rub the 
third finger of either hand over it three times, repeating each 
time the words : "Dry away, Dryaway." If any one happens to 
speak of warts in your presence, or call the one you have a wart, 
act as though you are offended, explaining that "it is not, it is a 
Dryaway, and it is drying away." Never speak the word "wart." 
In a little while you will discover that it is slowly but surely 
drying away and will soon be gone entirely. 

Zebulon Teeter (Florida). 

2699 Call a Wartie Cow flag, and the warts will go away. 
Julian P. Boyd. 

2700 When the moon is shining brightly, look at the moon con- 
tinuously while taking three steps backward, and pick up some- 
thing and throw it over the shoulder, still looking at the moon. 
The warts will soon disappear. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Ontario: Wintemberg, Oxford, 
No. 20 (look at the new moon, and while doing so pick up anything that 
lies in the road, no matter what it is ; rub it on the wart, then throw it 
away, and do not look back after it). 

2701 Some people can talk warts away by reciting poetry. 

Julian P. Boyd. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1823 (magic 
words to cure warts) — Texas: Woodhull, 71 (some people chant warts 
off). 

Wens 

2702 To remove wens, catch a toad-frog, rub his stomach 
against the wen for a minute ; then take a cotton string twelve 
inches long, tie nine knots in it, and tie the string on the toad- 
frog's left hind leg and let him go. 

Julia E. Self (Florida). 

2703 To carry away a wen, place a dead man's hand on it. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. South: Puckett, 374 — Maryland: 
Lee, III — Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1545 (the wen is rubbed against 
a dead man's neck [Negro]) ; No. 1546 (to cure a wen on the neck, 
place a string around the neck of a deceased friend, and afterward wear 
it around your own neck [Negro]) — Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 

68 (pass the wen across the head of a criminal just hanged). Black, 

Folk-Medicine, 100 f . ; Kittredge, Witchcraft, 142; Radford, 98, 256. 
Pop. Sup. Gent. Mag., 204. 



superstitions: hody, folk medicine 351 

2704 Any person who has never seen his father can conjure 
wens away. 

Anonymous. 

Whooping Cough 

2705 To cure whooping cough, put some asafetida in a httle bag 
and wear it around your neck. 

Allie Ann Pearce, Colerain, Bertie county. Cf. No. 2706, below. 

2706 To keep from catching whooping cough, wear a bag of 
asafetida and sulphur suspended around the neck. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county. Illinois: Allison, No. 
131 — Iowa: Stout, No. 1058. 

2707 A leather string commonly worn around the neck is sup- 
posed to prevent whooping cough. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maryland: Bergen, Current, No. 814; Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1723 (a leather shoe string) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 
1787 (strips of leather made of pigskin) — Osarks: Wilson, hoik Be- 
liefs, 161 (leather necklace). 

2708 Do not eat but very little, if any, supper when you have 
the whooping cough or else you cannot sleep. 

Lucille Cheek, Chatham county. 

2709 A tea made from white ants will cure whooping cough. 

Eunice Smith, Pantego, Beaufort county. South: Puckett, 371 — 
Kentucky: Thomas, No. 1548 (Negro). 

2710 You will not take whooping cough if you drink the milk 
which a black cat has drunk of. 

Green Collection. 

271 1 To cure whooping cough, give the patient some milk 
stolen from a neighbor's cow. 

Elsie Doxey, Currituck county. Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1788 (Ger- 
man). 

2712 Swallowing a live fish will cure whooping cough. 

Mrs. I. G. Greer, Boone, Watauga county, and Mrs. Gertrude Allen 
Vaught, Alexander county. Cf. South Carolina: Fitchett, 360 (nine 
live fishing baits tied around the neck of the sufferer [Negro]) — 
Georgia: Campbell, 2 (make the person cough in the face of a live 
catfish [Negro]) — Pennsylvania: Fogel, No. 1805 (take the fish out of 
water and let the sufTerer smell at it or let the fish breathe on the suf- 
ferer [German]) ; Owens, 125 (breathe the breath of a fish). Black, 

Folk-Medicine, 36; HDA 11, 1539; Lean 11, 501 (trout). 

2713 Drink hen manure tea to cure the whooping cough. 

Anonymous. 



352 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

2714 For whooping cough, let a child drink water out of a 
vessel just used by a white horse. 

Madge Colclough, Durham county. 

2715 If you ask a person riding on a piebald horse what to do 
for whooping cough, his recommendation will be successful, if 
attended to. 

Sue Hull (Indiana). Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1712. Addy, 

91; Black, Folk-Medicine, 153; Napier, 96; Radford, 189. 

2716 Mare's milk will cure whooping cough. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander County; Jessie Hauser, Pfaff- 
town, Forsyth county; and the Green Collection. Maryland: Bergen, 
Animal, No. 902 — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 391 — Pennsylvania: 
Fogel, No. 1795 (German) — Ozarks: Randolph, 105 f. (for this purpose 
many a father has been routed out in the night to ride to some farm 
where a mare has lately foaled) ; Wilson, Folk Beliejs, 161 — Texas: 

WoodhuU, 17 — Nebraska: Black, 13, No. 62. HDA viii, 575 

(cough). 

2717 If a stallion breathes into the throat of a child with 
whooping cough, the child will soon become well. 

Mrs. Gertrude Allen Vaught, Alexander county, and H. L. Davis, Hemp, 
Fannin county, Georgia. Cf. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1774 
(get a man to ride his horse so hard that it is foaming at the mouth ; then 
let the child breathe the horse's breath) — Louisiana: Roberts, No. 388 
(the same, except a race-horse is prescribed) — Mississippi: Hudson, 
154, No. 2 (let a white horse breathe into the face of the child). 

2718 Swallowing a live snake will cure whooping cough. 

Lucille Massey, Durham county. Cf. Pennsylvania: Fogel, 1796 (the 
cast off skin of a snake is eaten) ; No. 1782 (snake's rattles worn). 

2719 To cure whooping cough, drink woodchuck soap. 
Anonymous. 

2720 If you take the whooping cough before the sap rises, when 
the sap gets up you will get over it. 

Macie Morgan, Stanly county. 

2721 To cure whooping cough, find a blackberry or raspberry 
bush whose top has been turned down and taken root, make the 
patient crawl under it three times. 

Eleanor Simpson, East Durham. Maryland: Whitney-Bullock, No. 1788; 
No. 1787 (make the child crawl three times under a blackberry bush, 
and then three times the reverse way ; give it a tea made of the roots of 
the same bush, etc.) ; No. 1789 (gooseberry). Cf. No. 2722, below. 

2722 To cure whooping cough, place the diseased person under 
a briar whose end has taken root in the ground, and he will be 
cured. 

Robert E. Long, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. Maryland: Whitney- 
Bullock, No. 1789 (bramble). Lean 11, 500; Radford, 19, 92. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 353 

2723 For whooping cough, make a tea out of chestnut leaves. 

Vella Jane Burch, Durham county. Tennessee: Massey, 58 (chestnut 
leaf tea poured through an old bird's nest) ; Redfield, No. 163 — Penn- 
sylvania: Lick-Brendle, 270 (German) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4407 
(sweetened with rock candy) — Nebraska: Black, 13, No. 65 (chest- 
nut leaves made into syrup) — Idaho: Lore, 216 (gather chestnut 
leaves just before the nuts fall, boil, strain, and sweeten with brown 
sugar). 

2724 Horehound tea will cure whooping cough. 
Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

2725 Give children tea from life everlasting to cure whooping 
cough. 

Kate S. Russell, Roxboro, Person county. 

2726 Mix molasses, whiskey, and linseed oil to cure whooping 
cough. 

Anonymous. 

2727 To cure whooping cough, give a syrup made of mullein 
tea and honey. It lasts about six or eight weeks. 

Mrs. Nilla Lancaster, Goldsboro, Wayne county. Cf. Tennessee: Mas- 
sey, 58 (hot mullein tea poured through an old bird's nest). 

2728 For whooping cough a syrup is made of swamp alder. 

Anonymous. The Cherokee Indians of Robeson county made a cough 
syrup of swamp alder. 

2729 As a cure for whooping cough the sufferer should eat a 
piece of bread baked by a woman whose maiden name is the 
same as that of her husband. The bread should not be given 
directly to the sufferer, however, but should be brought by some 
other person. 

Anabel Henry, Wallace, Duplin county ; the Green Collection ; and an 
anonymous informant. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 133 (German) ; 
Grumbine, 276. Butter kneaded by a woman whose family name is the 
same as her husband's was a sure cure for whooping cough {Pennsyl- 
vania: Brendle-Unger, 133). 

2730 Go to a widow whose maiden name is the same as her 
married name and ask her to give you a loaf of bread. Do not 
pay her for it but give her a present. Feed bread to the diseased 
person and he will get well. 

Robert E. Long, Roxboro, Person county. Cf. No. 2729, above. 

2731 Conjure-men can cure the whooping cough. 
Anonymous. 

2732 A seventh son can cure the whooping cough. 
Anonymous. 



354 NORTH CAROLINA FOLKLORE 

Worms 

2733 Asaf etida is used for warding off stomach worms. 
J. Schaffner. 

2734 Broth is made from earth worms to cure worms in chil- 
dren. 

Green Collection. Newfoundland: Bergen, Animal, No. 793 (put live 
angleworms in a bag on the belly of the child nine successive mornings, 
changing them daily) ; Patterson, 287 (hang earthworms around the 
neck). 

2735 Earthworms, or baits, are used to cure worms. 
Green Collection. Cf. No. 2734, above. 

2736 Burdock tea is good for worms. 

Julia McRea. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4449 (tea made from a mixture of 
rhubarb and burdock roots). 

2737 Take carrot juice before breakfast to cure worms. 

J. Frederick Doering, Durham. Cf. Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4431 (eat 
carrots every morning). 

2738 Jerusalem tea is used for worms. 
Julia McRea. 

2739 Queen's delight will cure worms in the blood. 
F. C. Brown, Durham. 

2740 Make a salve by boiling house leek down to a gravy and 
mixing this with pure hog lard. [Ringworm.] 

Mamie Mansfield, Durham county. 

2741 Okra, Jerusalem seed, and molasses will rid one of worms. 

Anonymous. Cf. Pennsylvania: Brendle-Unger, 180 (tea of elecampane 
and molasses [German]). 

2742 Dry sage and honey mixed is a remedy for worms. 

Anonymous. Cf. New York: Relihan, Farm Lore, 157 (a bag of sage 
around the neck will keep worms away) — Indiana: Brewster, Cures, 
36, No. I (strong sage tea for worm fits) — Illinois: Hyatt, No. 4451 
(sage tea). 

2743 Star grass roots and poplar bark is a good medicine for 
hookworms. 

Julian P. Boyd. 

2744 The mother of a mountain family infested with hookworm 
cured her son by giving him "rusty nails and vinegar." 

Green Collection. 



superstitions: body, folk medicine 355 

Wounds 

2745 For wounds, wrap a dishrag tightly around them. 
Constance Patten, Greensboro. 

2746 Spit on a wound to cure it. 
Green Collection. 

2747 To draw poison out of a wound apply beef gall. 
Charles P. Bagley, Currituck county. 

2748 A piece of fat meat is good for wounds. 

Green Collection, and J. Frederick Doering, Durham. "Salt pork is 
believed by the Pennsylvania Dutch to have healing properties." South 
Carolina: Bryant 11, 138, No. 51 (to draw out the poison) — Illinois: 
Allison, No. 100 — Iowa: Stout, No. 948. 

2749 Wounds are treated with poultices made of mud daubers' 
nests. 

Green Collection. Cf. Nos.